You may be eligible for free services from RETAIN California, a program focused on helping people whose lives have recently been disrupted because of an injury, illness, or worsening health problem.

The goal is to help you get better and back on track - preferably with a full paycheck.

Why Working Works:

As you know, a benefit of getting back to work following an injury or illness is the pay. In fact, research shows that injured workers can earn an average of $422,000 more over their lifetime if they stay in or return to the workforce. This is primarily due to keeping their job and the associated compensation. But there are other important benefits, too.

  • From a health perspective, being active and productive can help:
  • Speed up your recovery
  • Reduce the risk of hurting yourself or getting sick again 
  • Reduce the chance of getting a second health problem that can slow down your recovery

Working can also have a positive effect on your quality of life. 

It helps you:

  • Keep to your daily schedule and stay connected with other people  
  • Stay involved and have a sense of purpose  
  • Retain and increase your skills

These benefits are what RETAIN California is all about. We can help you navigate your road to recovery and get your everyday life back on track as quickly as possible.

Who is Eligible for RETAIN Services?

You may qualify for the program if your work is being affected by a new injury, illness, surgical procedure, or change in a chronic condition.

To meet enrollment criteria, you must:

  • Currently be under medical care  
  • Live or work in the Sacramento or San Diego County  
  • Speak English or Spanish

And have one or more of the following: 

  • A doctor/clinician referral (i.e., medical professional nominates you for the program)  
  • 2 injured body parts
  • Any surgical consult
  • 7+ physical therapy (PT) visits   
  • Off duty for any amount of time
  • Modified work - is being accommodated for a minimum of 3 weeks
  • Modified work that is not being accommodated, any amount of time   
  • Any MRI, EMG   

What to do Following an Injury or Illness:

  • Whether you participate in RETAIN or not, there are a number of tips, tools, and best practices we can recommend to help you as you recover.
  • Discuss your needs and concerns with your doctor and follow his or her advice on how long you should remain out of work.   
  • Stay as active as possible, within the restrictions recommended by your medical team. Follow your doctor’s directions about activity at both home and work  
  • Let your employer know of your injury if you are comfortable informing them, and talk about possible changes to your job duties that would allow you to stay at work during your recovery. These are called reasonable accommodations, and you have the right to request these to do your core job tasks.   
  • Ask whether your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can provide you with a range of confidential services to aid in your recovery and return to work.   
  • If you belong to a union, contact your representative. Unions often offer return-to-work assistance to their members.

Requesting a Workplace Accommodation from Your Employer When requesting an accommodation  

  • Explain that you are requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)  
  • Identify specific job tasks/requirements that are challenging to you
  • Identify potential solutions
    • The right accommodation(s) may be ideas that you and your doctor feel will help you return to work safely and productively.
    • Per the ADA, your employer is responsible for recommending effective workplace accommodations, but additional professional consultation may be needed on a case by case basis.
    • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free, confidential consulting services for individuals, regardless of their employment status. Services including one-on-one consultation about job accommodations, including the accommodations process, accommodation ideas, product vendors, referral to other resources, and ADA compliance assistance.

Talking to your Employer

  • If you need an accommodation to perform essential job functions, it is your responsibility to communicate your needs to your employer. Find a Sample Request Letter here.  
  • Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees and applicants with disabilities as long as such accommodations do not pose an undue hardship to the employer. By law, the employer has a duty to respond in a timely manner.

Talking to your Doctor/Clinician    

  • When talking to your doctor/clinician, be sure to actively discuss the following:           
    • Your job duties pre-injury  
    • Your medical conditions
    • Job duties you believe you can or cannot perform post-injury
  • Your doctor/clinician should communicate with you if you have any work restrictions. These are clear and specific limits on your specific job tasks while recovering. 
  • Your doctor/clinician should outline any changes or recommended accommodations to your working conditions which are necessary to continue working throughout recovery.

Where to Learn More About RETAIN California:

Talking to your Healthcare Provider to learn more and explore enrollment, please contact us at 619-304-1201 or email us at Info@CaliRETAIN.org