Working While Hurt: Learning About Light Duty And Workers' Comp
When you get hurt at work, your employer's workers' comp carrier will want to have you return to work and get off benefits as soon as you can. Any work you are still able to do will reduce the amount the carrier has to pay and will help your employer fill a position. While you are recuperating from your injuries, you may be offered a job that is light-duty. Read on learn more about this category of compensation.
The initial stages of workers' comp: Once you have been evaluated by a doctor, you may be told you can no longer return to your job until your injury has completely healed. This is the time that you may be offered the opportunity for a light-duty position. This light-duty job is not meant to be anything permanent; you may be well enough to return to your previous job at some point and you can always do so as long as the doctor clears you.
Am I required to accept a light-duty job? In most cases, a refusal to accept the job can mean a reduction or cancellation of your benefits. This job must be appropriate for your current medical condition, so you are under no obligation to accept an unsuitable job.
Wage loss benefits: While you are unable to work at your usual job, you will be receiving a certain portion of the salary you earned before you were hurt. In some cases, you can just stay home and get better, but in other cases, you must accept a light-duty job. You will still get the wage loss benefits and you will be paid for the light duty job as well if you accept it.
Since the benefits from workers' comp are often only a percentage of your usual salary, you may suffer some financial difficulties sooner or later. A light-duty job will help bridge the gap between your regular salary and your wage loss benefit pay, which might be only about two-thirds of your usual pay.
What is a light-duty job? The offer for a light-duty position depends on your injury and what positions may be available from your employer. It must accommodate your work restrictions and not affect your medical condition, however, it does not have to be anything like your regular position.
It could be a desk job or another seated position for those who cannot stand or walk, or it could be your same job without having to do certain tasks. For instance, if your previous job involved doing a variety of retail chores, your new light-duty position will be similar but without any heavy lifting.
If you are in disagreement with your ruling concerning light-duty or anything else, speak to a workers' comp service right away.