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Updated 10:00 AM June 22, 2009
 

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WorkConnections modifies services for uncomplicated pregnancies

WorkConnections, the university's integrated disability services program designed to assist employees — and their supervisors — when a health condition prevents employees from working, is discontinuing disability management services for uncomplicated pregnancies, effective July 1.

Disability management services provided by WorkConnections for uncomplicated pregnancies haven't widely been used by the university community in recent years and employees with uncomplicated pregnancies typically return to work without any difficulty.

"After carefully evaluating the level of use for disability management services for uncomplicated pregnancies and feedback from employees, supervisors, physicians, and other health care providers, we've decided to discontinue these services," says Kate Rychlinski, assistant director of Risk Management and WorkConnections. "I do, however, want to emphasize that, while disability management services are not generally needed for uncomplicated pregnancies, we're happy to provide these services upon request."

Rychlinski also noted that health care coverage and other benefits provided to employees are not affected in any way when disability management services for uncomplicated pregnancies are provided on the unit level.

The following steps are provided by WorkConnections to help supervisors manage absences related to uncomplicated pregnancies:

• Documentation — The period of disability (absence from work) should be documented by the treating physician. A Health Care Provider Report Form can be used by the treating physician for this purpose. The form can be downloaded at www.workconnections.umich.edu/pdf/hcpr.pdf.

• Typical periods of disability (absences from work) — The accepted norm for absence is approximately two weeks before the estimated delivery date. The expected duration of absence — after delivery — for uncomplicated vaginal delivery is six weeks and for caesarean delivery is eight weeks.

• Ending of absence — Employees should schedule a post-delivery appointment with their physicians prior to the end of the six-week/eight-week period of disability in order to obtain written documentation that their medical disability is no longer an issue and they are able to return to work.

• Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — WorkConnections suggests that supervisors speak with their human resources representative about processing FMLA paperwork for any pregnancy-related absences. More information is also available at www.hr.umich.edu/staffhandbook/absence/fmla.htm.

• Other considerations — Supervisors should contact WorkConnections if medical complications are reported or if the treating physician recommends that your employee refrain from work beyond the typical period of disability (absence from work). Supervisors should also contact WorkConnections if the treating physician limits their employee's work activities before or after delivery. WorkConnections will work with both the supervisor and employee to coordinate any necessary work accommodations.

WorkConnections can be reached at 734-615-0643 or toll-free at 877-869-5266, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and by e-mail, Work.Connections@umich.edu.

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