President Obama declared October as "National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2010." To that end, the Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP) recently released an online return-to-work toolkit for employers and employees. According to the ODEP, this toolkit is intended to offer insight into the return-to-work process and apprise employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities following an employee’s disability-related leave of absence.
The employee toolkit includes information about job accommodation, preparing for a job interview, resume writing, self-employment and employment-related laws. The employer toolkit discusses topics ranging from modifying work duties or schedules to helping an employee perform the essential functions of her position to reducing workers’ compensation costs. For instance, the toolkit guides employers on how to increase the effectiveness of their return to work strategies by developing an integrated disability and absence management (IDAM) program, which the ODEP believes will enable an employer to reduce job-related injuries and accommodate employees. The employer toolkit also provides overviews of employers’ obligations under workers’ compensation laws, the FMLA, ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.