Transitional Work Program

Questions? Contact Disability Management Services


Transitional work allows an employee with temporary restrictions to work in a modified, alternative, or reduced-hours capacity, for a defined period of time, while recuperating from an illness or injury.

What is transitional work?

UCSF strives to return employees with work restrictions to work as soon as conditions permits. Allowing employees to perform transitional work enables those employees to return to maximum health and productivity much faster than if they were required to stay off work.

Transitional work includes the following: 

  • Modified work: changing or eliminating specific job duties within your regular job to meet the temporary work restrictions
  • Alternative work: a position other than your regular job to meet temporary work restrictions
  • Reduced-hours work: less than full-time work to meet temporary restrictions

Transitional work may be in the home department or in another department or work location. The goal is to meet both the needs of the employee as well as the department’s business needs. This highlights the importance of both the employee and the supervisor being an active part of the process.

The employee and supervisor should develop a formalized transitional work plan that specifies the arrangements. This important document informs each party of the specific work assignments, temporary work modifications, and defined start and end dates. This lessens the possibility of misunderstandings arising while an employee is working in a reduced capacity.

Disability Management Services is here to help you.

Supervisor’s checklist


Go to HR Umbrella to complete a Transitional Work Plan

The Transitional Work Plan should be completed electronically through HR Umbrella

  • If you are accommodating full-time, enter the application through via the Request Modified or Alternate Duty button. 
  • If any leave is needed, enter HR Umbrella through the Request a Leave of Absence (LOA) button and click on the modified duty button. That will move you to the Modified Duty Application. You will find this button under the Proposed Work Schedule/Work Restrictions space.  


Coordinate with the employee

Meet with the employee to agree upon temporary modifications and/or reduced work schedule. This is a negotiated dialogue that includes considerations of the employee's work restrictions, any requested accommodations, and business needs.


Managing complex circumstances

Who to contact for guidance on development and/or continuation of the transitional work plan:

  • Campus employees: Contact Disability Management Services if the accommodations are particularly complex or if the period of transitional work must exceed 60 to 90 days. 
    • DMS provides guidance for non-occupational injuries and illness and campus workplace injuries.
  • Health employees: Contact Health Workers’ Compensation Department if the accommodations are particularly complex or if the period of transitional work must exceed 60 to 90 days.


Proactive steps

Departments might consider creating committees to work proactively on transitional work. Members could:  

  • Analyze each position to determine which job functions could be accommodated, if necessary, in the future.  
  • Examine the possibility of cross-training employees so that, if necessary, others could assume those duties if the primary employee is unable to temporarily perform those tasks.
  • Identify modified duty options that could be offered, if an employee is injured.  Of course, this will depend upon the work restrictions.  However, there may be projects or work that can be identified, that an employee can perform.  For example, chart audits, development of a desk manual, shredding files, cleaning lower level surfaces only, etc.

Who to contact for assistance:

  • Campus employees: Disability Management Services can assist the department with this process.
  • Health employees: Workers’ Compensation Health can assist the department with this process.