Enhanced Disability Management Program for members in facilities subsector expands to include affiliates

The Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP), jointly negotiated by the Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), is in the process of expanding to include a number of affiliate health care employers. 

EDMP is designed to improve supports provided to members who are struggling with illness or injury by addressing barriers to recovery and an early, safe return to work. 

These obstacles may include: medical (i.e. physical limitations and restrictions), personal (i.e. child care issues), workplace (i.e. current performance concerns) and/or vocational (i.e. skills upgrading required). 

Initially agreed to in the 2012-2014 round of bargaining, the parties renewed the program in the 2014-2019 collective agreement.

This spring, nine affiliate employers rolled out the program as part of a pilot project, with the goal of eventually expanding to include all FBA affiliates. All workplaces directly run by health authorities have already been included in the plan since its implementation in January 2014. 

Last month, another 55 long-term care sites in the FBA rolled out the EDMP.

Morneau Shepell has been chosen as the EDMP provider. Their Disability Management Professionals will provide supports and services to HEU members referred to EDMP, and will work with the union’s EDMP stewards. 

Here are some frequently asked questions: 

How will EDMP benefit ill or injured workers? 

A collaborative disability management team (consisting of a Disability Management Professional from the employer, an EDMP steward from the union, and medical services professionals) will create a customized rehabilitation and return-to-work plan for the member. 

Through EDMP, members may be eligible for timely medical and rehabilitation services, or diagnostic services and treatments recommended by a physician, which may not be covered under the Medical Services Plan (MSP) or extended health plans. 

When the member is ready to return to the workplace, options such as a graduated return to work program, temporary work assignments, flexible work (days/hours), modifications to current duties, or even the assignment of alternate or light work may be explored. 

What are the criteria to access the EDMP? 

Supports under the program are available to regular employees under the FBA, who have missed one shift due to illness or injury resulting from a work-related event, or who have missed five consecutive shifts due to a non work-related illness or injury. 

Regular employees who are otherwise struggling at work but do not meet the absence criteria, and casual employees, can refer themselves to the program. 

Casuals and those who self-refer while continuing to work will be considered by the employer on a case-by-case basis.

Will privacy be protected? 

Yes. Medical information is kept strictly confidential, and is only available to the disability management team working directly on a member’s file. 

Information is provided to managers and human resources only on a need-to-know basis, limited to the nature of the absence and any functional information relating to a return to work. 

Who is the main contact for ill or injured members? 

The FBA has 18 designated and trained EDMP stewards who work full-time in their role to provide support and resources to ill or injured workers. They also serve as the primary contact for the employer’s Disability Management Professional. 

Local stewards will refer members to the designated EDMP steward for their area, who will be the primary point of contact and union support for the member. 

If there’s a collective agreement violation, then the EDMP steward will work with the local shop steward to assist the member.