When an employer offers another job to a worker who has had a work accident or contracted an occupational disease, it is called a temporary assignment. A worker may be offered a temporary assignment when they are unable to perform the routine tasks of their job or sustain the work pace, work intensity or workload because of their employment injury or illness.
A temporary assignment helps workers return to work even if their employment injury or illness has not yet healed or stabilized. It is temporary because it applies as long as the person is unable to do their job or a suitable job because of their condition. It may be proposed by the employer at the time of the injury.
To offer a worker a temporary assignment, the employer must fill out the Temporary work assignment form. The attending health professional must then give their consent for the worker to do the temporary assignment proposed by their employer. The employer can then use the CNESST's online service Mon Espace CNESST (in French only) to send the form to the CNESST.
Nature of the work that can be assigned
The temporary assignment is put in place at the employer's request to promote the worker's rehabilitation and return to the workplace. It:
- helps the worker improve their abilities
- protects the person from the harmful effects of inactivity
- allows the worker to maintain contact with their co-workers and employer
- allows the worker to remain present and active in their workplace
The work assigned must be different from the work performed at the time of the injury. The worker may be assigned to the same job but with modifications such as:
- a reduction in the number of tasks to be performed
- an adjustment of the workload, work pace or work intensity
A temporary assignment can also be:
- another existing job in the company
- a job consisting of a set of tasks normally performed at different work stations
- a job created from a set of new tasks that are productive for the company
The tasks must be compatible with the worker's physical and psychological condition, while also promoting their rehabilitation.
The employer may assign work temporarily only if the worker's attending health professional has given their consent.
The attending health professional must assess whether:
- the worker is reasonably able to do the work assignment proposed
- the work does not endanger the person's health, safety and physical and psychological well-being
- the work is beneficial to their rehabilitation
If the worker disagrees with the temporary assignment proposed, they may contest it.
Maintenance of wages and employment benefits
If the temporary assignment is done according to the regular schedule, the employer must pay the worker the same wages and benefits as for their job or those they would have received had they continued to do their job normally.
If the temporary assignment is done on a reduced-time basis, the employer indicates the option they choose to pay the wages and benefits when they complete the Temporary work assignment form. Choices can be made when completing the steps to be followed to propose a temporary assignment (in French only).
Termination of a temporary assignment
The temporary assignment ends when the worker is able to do their job or a suitable job.
Interruption of a temporary assignment
The worker is obliged to do their temporary assignment. Certain situations, whether work related or not, may interrupt the temporary assignment. This interruption may affect payment of the income replacement indemnity.
The CNESST assesses each case and the appropriateness of suspending or reducing the payment of the indemnity.