Transitional Modified Duty


The policies and procedures provided herein apply to all full and part time faculty (to include adjunct faculty, full and part time classified staff and non-student wage employees) employed by George Mason University, at all University locations.


George Mason University believes it is in the best interest of the University and its employees to facilitate the expedient return of faculty and staff to full duty after they have been absent due to injury, illness, or other medical condition.  This policy applies to both personal and work related medical absences.  George Mason University provides for the use of Transitional Modified Duty Assignments (TMDA) and will, to the extent possible, assist employees by temporarily modifying work assignments, duties or arranging for a temporary transfer until the employee is medically released to resume regular duties.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Requires employers to consider reasonable job accommodations in recruiting, hiring, evaluating, and promoting disabled employees.

Disability Documentation: Written statement from the employee’s primary treating physician listing specific temporary medically requested restrictions or job modifications allowing the employee to return to work after a serious illness and/or injury.

Job Summary Analysis: The essential physical, mental and environmental requirements of a specific position description.  The Employee Work Profile, Section 7; Parts I – IV, lists the physical, cognitive and environmental requirements of each position.

Physician’s Medical Status Report: Notice of specific medical and physical restrictions recommended by primary treating healthcare provider.

Transitional Modified Duties: Temporary modifications or restrictions of an employees job responsibilities, requested by the attending physician, to aid in recovery from a serious illness and/or injury while allowing the employee to return to the work site.


A. The Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer is responsible for the administration and implementation of the Transitional Modified Duty Policy

B. The Human Resources and Payroll Department will oversee the management of the Transitional Modified Duty Policy and insure compliance with all University Policies, Department of Human Resource Management, as well as state and federal laws.  Human Resources will provide training and guidance on the application of the Transitional Modified Duty policy and procedures as well as maintaining all forms and documentation on the HR home page (

1. The Human Resources and Payroll Department may request a Job Summary Analysis (JSA), if TMDA’s are requested, from the supervisor.

2. The faculty or staff member’s position description detailing the job responsibilities, physical, mental, and environmental work conditions, and a Physician’s Medical Status Report will be sent to the employee for the health care provider’s use and completion.  The employee and the physician should review the job responsibilities and work conditions in order to develop a return to work plan.

3. The Human Resources and Payroll Department will review the TMDA every 4 weeks, or as necessary, to evaluate the employee’s progress toward a return to regular duties.  Updated medical information may be requested from the medical provider during this review.  TMDA’s may be altered, upgraded, or changed in a manner consistent with medical restrictions and in accordance with an individual’s improved condition.

a. When a department cannot accommodate the employee’s TMDA, Human Resources will consult with other departments, university wide, to determine if appropriate accommodations can be provided elsewhere.

C. Heads of Departments, Offices and Activities are responsible for assuring compliance within the scope of this policy to include:

1. Reviewing specific departmental and employee job responsibilities to assist in the early return to work for an employee requesting TMDA’s. When considering TMDA departments will be requested to look at all areas within their scope of responsibility, not just the returning employee’s position.

2. Prior to returning to the work environment, the employee must provide a written release for duty from the treating health professional to the Human Resources and Payroll Department.  The document should certify either a return to Full Duty Full Time (FDFT) or specific Temporary Modified Duty Assignments.

3. Insuring compliance of the TMDA’s while the employee is at the work site.


1. Transitional Modified Duty Assignments (TMDA) are available only to those employees who are expected to return to full duty in their previously held position and may not exceed 90 days.

2. TMDA’s must meet the department’s/University staffing needs as well as accommodating the employee’s medical restrictions while taking into consideration the welfare and safety of the employee and their co-workers, customers and/or clients

3. A TMDA may not exceed the level of responsibility of the previously held position/function.

4. TMDA’s may be altered, upgraded, or changed in a manner consistent with medical restrictions and in accordance with an individual’s improved condition.

5. Funding of the employee’s position will be the responsibility of the home department regardless of the location of the TMDA.

6. If it is medically determined that the employee has permanent restrictions that result in the inability to perform one or more essential job responsibilities, the employee may seek accommodations through the University’s ADA Program.  It will be the responsibility of the University to determine whether or not the requested permanent accommodations are considered reasonable.


The policies herein are effective July 1, 2002.  This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually and become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.

Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

Peter N. Stearns

Date approved: July 31, 2002

Date of most recent review: February 11, 2013