Policy: Temporary Light Duty

PURPOSE

The purpose of this order is to provide specific guidelines and responsibilities for light duty assignments within the Michigan State University Police Department (Department).

POLICY

It is the policy of the Department that eligible employees should be given an opportunity to work in available, light duty assignments due to injury, illness, or disability and when they are unable to perform their regular duties.

Further, temporary light duty assignments provide employees with an opportunity to remain productive while convalescing. These assignments also reduce the risk of compromising the health and safety of the employee, as well as the safety of others, when the employee is physically unfit for regular duties.

To serve these objectives, the Department has established the following procedures for granting available, temporary, light duty assignments to eligible personnel.

PROCEDURES

Eligibility

Eligible employee means any full time sworn or non-sworn member of the Department that:

Suffers from a medically certified illness, injury or disability that requires treatment by a licensed health care provider; and

Due to the injury, illness or disability, is temporarily unable to perform a regular assignment; and

Is capable of performing an alternative light duty assignment.

General Provisions

Temporary light duty positions are limited in number and variety. Employees who are injured or otherwise disabled in the line of duty will be given preference over other eligible employees in initial assignment to any available light duty positions. Light duty assignments may be changed at any time, if deemed to be in the best interest of the employee or the Department.

This is not intended to affect the rights or obligations of employees under the following: the Family Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the American with Disabilities Act, Michigan’s Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, Michigan’s Workers’ Compensation Disability Act, and/or other federal or state laws.

Assignment to temporary light duty will not affect an employee’s pay classification, pay increases, promotions, retirement benefits, or other employee benefits; such as bonus pay for special assignments, including but not limited to, canine handlers.

No specific position within the Department will be established for use as a temporary light duty assignment. Similarly, existing positions will not be designated or utilized exclusively for personnel on temporary light duty.

Light duty assignments are strictly temporary and normally will not exceed six (6) months in duration. After six (6) months, employees on temporary light duty who are not capable of returning to their original duty assignment as outlined in their MSU Job Classification may:

Present a request for extension of the temporary light duty assignment, with supporting documentation, to the Chief of Police (Chief) or designee. This extension may be granted for a maximum of an additional six (6) months.

An employee who is unable to return to their original duty assignment (as outlined by MSU’s Job Classification system) after the six (6) month extension, may pursue other options as provided by the employment provisions of this organization, the employee’s collective bargaining agreement, and/or federal or state laws.

Employees who have been approved for temporary light duty are prohibited from engaging in employment outside of the Department, where they may reasonably be expected to carry out duties for which they have been determined to be physically unable to perform in their regular assignment.

Depending upon the nature and extent of the disability, an employee on temporary light duty may be prohibited or restricted from wearing a uniform, carrying a duty or off-duty weapon, or otherwise limited in employing police powers as determined by the Chief.

Light duty assignments shall not be used for disciplinary purposes.

Temporary Light Duty Assignments

Temporary light duty assignments may be drawn from a range of technical and administrative areas that include, but are not limited to, the following:

Administrative functions (e.g. report review, special projects);

Clerical functions (e.g. filing);

Report taking, follow-up calls (e.g. telephone reporting unit);

Decisions regarding temporary light duty assignments will be made based upon the employee’s knowledge, skills and abilities; the availability of temporary light duty assignments; the physical limitations of the employee; and the needs of the Department. No light duty assignments for sworn personnel will involve in-person interaction with criminal suspects or subjects.

Employees approved for a temporary light duty assignment will retain their pay classification and related benefits of the position they held prior to this change. Every effort will be made to assign employees to temporary light duty positions consistent with their rank and pay classification. When employees are assigned to positions with a lower rank or pay classification, they will retain the privileges of their rank. However, these employees may be supervised by the officer of the unit to which they are assigned with regard to work responsibilities and performance.

Requests for Assignment to Temporary Light Duty

Requests for temporary light duty must be submitted to the Department’s Personnel Officer in writing.

Requests must be accompanied by a statement of medical certification to support a requested reassignment. The certification must be signed by either the treating physician or other licensed health care provider.

The certification must include an assessment of the nature and probable duration of the disability; the specific work restrictions; and prognosis for recovery and ability to return to the original work duty assignment (as described by their MSU Job Classification) within the timeframe allowed by this policy.

Upon termination of the temporary light duty status, the employee returning to regular duty shall provide the Department’s Personnel Officer with a signed statement of medical certification to support their unrestricted return to regular duty.

Upon receiving a request for temporary light duty or a request to return to regular duty, the department may require the employee to submit to an independent medical examination by a health care provider of the Department’s choice. In the event the opinion of the second health care provider differs from the opinion of the employee’s health care provider, the employee may request a third opinion at the Department’s expense. The employee and the Department must cooperate and act in good faith in selecting the third health care provider, and both parties will be bound by the third health care provider’s medical decision.