214 – Transitional Duty

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I. Purpose

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (H.C.S.O.) will attempt to provide opportunities for injured employees and expectant mothers to return to productive work as soon as possible. The Transitional Duty Program has been established to retain our qualified workforce and 

The program is designed to encourage the department and the employee to work cooperatively toward the goal of transitioning the employee with temporary medical restrictions back into the work environment.

A. Efforts will be made to assign injured employees and expectant mothers to temporary, transitional duty if they are unable to perform their regular duties because of personal illness, occupational injury, or pregnancy.

B. Transitional duty is not intended to replace an employee’s regular duties permanently, nor is transitional duty available for anything other than a temporary condition. Permanent restrictions preventing employees from meeting essential job functions will not qualify for transitional duty.

C. Personnel placed on transitional duty are not considered to be in full active duty status and shall be subject to the provisions of H.C.S.O. Policy #215 – Return to Duty After Extended Absence, upon return to their normal duty assignment.

II. Definitions

Medical Restrictions:  Physician specified work activities that are limited due to injury or illness.

Temporary:  Typically lasting from one to ninety days, not permanent.

Transitional Duty:  Selected assignments that take employees in stages from tasks they can perform within medical work restrictions to performing their regular job duties.

III. Policy

Transitional duty will be granted at 90-day intervals and not exceed:

1. 365 days period for expectant mothers, occupational illness or injury, and

2. 180 days for non-occupational illness or injury.

A. While on transitional duty, employees shall be required to work any shift assignment, including overtime shifts, as directed by a Supervisor, unless the treating physician orders otherwise.

B. Employees on transitional duty will not, either on or off-duty, wear any portion of their Sheriff’s Office-issued uniform.  Employees in plain clothes will not display their badges or weapon.

C. Employees on transitional duty will not be permitted to work law enforcement-related extra employment, including but not limited to apartment security.

IV. Procedure

The employee must submit a Transitional Duty Request to the Human Resources Division (HR) accompanied by their medical provider’s temporary release with restrictions. HR will:

1. Assist in the implementation of establishing temporary transitional duty assignments with specific unit/bureau commanders.

2. Collaborate with the appropriate medical provider in an effort to identify work restrictions.

3. Monitor and track all temporary transitional duty assignments.

4. Develop an annual report on the utilization of the Temporary Transitional Duty Programs.

B. Assignments are determined based upon the individual’s work restrictions, the skills of the employee, and the needs of the department.

C. Assignments are not guaranteed. They are based on need and availability.

NOTE: As medical restrictions change, the temporary transitional duty assignment may also change.

D. No less than one week prior to each 90-day period, the employee must request an extension by submitting a new Transitional Duty Request to HR.

E. Expectant mothers may need to provide additional supporting documentation. 

NOTE: The new request must include a physician’s statement, which indicates if the employee is making medical improvements and or the need for continuation of medical restrictions.

F. If, at the expiration of a 180 day or one-year period of Temporary Transitional Duty, the employee cannot return to his or her permanent job assignment the employee is responsible for pursuing an alternate job (e.g., professional staff member) by applying for another position through the Talent Engagement department. Failure to secure a position before the expiration of Transitional Duty will result in an involuntary separation.  

G. Employees are cautioned that a demonstrated inability to perform the requirements of their position may also result in an assessment of their eligibility for continued employment. Permanent restrictions may result in an involuntary separation from H.C.S.O.

H. Nothing in this policy is intended to conflict with return to duty after extended absence (refer to H.C.S.O. Department Policy #215 – Return to Duty After Extended Absence).


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009

March 9, 2011

February 15, 2019

June 9, 2021

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