Disability Management and Rehabilitation Committee Report
Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association (TRUFA) – 2017 AGM
TRUFA usually has two faculty representatives on the Disability Management and Rehabilitation Committee (DMRC). Peggy McKimmon was elected at the 2015 TRUFA Annual General Meeting (AGM), and her term would have ended this spring 2017. I was elected at the 2016 TRUFA AGM, and my term will end spring 2018. In February, I attended the FPSE disability committee meeting in Vancouver. In early 2017, Peggy withdrew from the committee.
The DMRC meets monthly with the employer (Theron Reed, HR Consultant, Disabilities and Benefits, and usually another HR consultant). This year, we have met with Theron only (because of turnover in HR). We review short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) claims and facilitate members’ return to work after medical leaves. The purpose of the Committee is for the employer to provide TRUFA with information as to how many members have active STD or LTD claims, dates of medical leaves and return to work, and for the TRUFA DMRC representatives to work together with TRU HR, applicable Deans and/or Chairs to facilitate members’ return to work. The Committee provides guidance and support for faculty members with Manulife and/or WorkSafe BC claims and assists in facilitating their return to work.
A reminder that our benefits include
- 30 calendar days sick time that serves as a qualifying period for STD
- 21 weeks of STD
- If required, LTD
Currently there are 3 STD and 6 LTD cases.
We have a good working relationship between our HR Consultant and the TRUFA DMRC faculty representatives. We are pleased with the degree of communication between TRU HR and TRUFA around the handling of our members’ disability claims and the processes in place to assist our members to successfully return to work. Theron Reed and his staff appear committed to ensuring our members receive the benefits they deserve and to working with others across campus as well as Manulife, to facilitate a successful outcome for our members with disability claims. Members have been treated fairly and respectfully.
As a new representative, I have been learning my roles and responsibilities. Peggy McKimmon’s withdrawal has left a gap in experience. When I joined the committee, I was informed that one of the most challenging aspects of the representative’s role was when members talked directly to their colleagues, Chairs, Deans, Manulife, and TRU HR prior to consulting with the TRUFA DMRC representative. In my short experience, this challenge appears to be ongoing still. One of the goals of the TRUFA representatives was to educate members and shop stewards about the role of the DMRC and the process to follow if they have questions about disability management. Shop stewards should direct members with disability benefits-related questions to the TRUFA DMRC representatives. Information about the reason for sick-related leave is shared with the doctor(s) and Manulife, but members are under no obligation to divulge the reason for sick-related leave to the employer.