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Are You Required to Accept Light Duty Work?

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Are You Required to Accept Light Duty Work?Returning to your job after a work-related injury can be a gradual process. To start, you may be physically unable to do any work while you are recovering. With workers’ compensation coverage, you should receive Temporary Total Disability benefits, which are two-thirds of your gross average weekly wage during the past 52 weeks. As your condition improves, you may be able to perform tasks at your job that fit within your physical limitations. This is called light duty work and can be beneficial to both you and your employer. However, you should not be pressured into taking light duty work if you believe you are not physically capable of doing the job.

Advantages of Light Duty Work

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to try to provide work opportunities for injured employees who are capable of performing some tasks. However, employers can also benefit from offering light duty work. The employee will continue to receive TTD benefits if the employer cannot accommodate his or her work restrictions. When the employee accepts light duty work:

  • The employer gets some productivity out of the employee; and
  • The employee receives work pay and Temporary Partial Disability benefits.

TPD benefits supplement an employee’s pay when doing light duty work. The benefits are two-thirds of the difference between the worker’s gross weekly wage for the past 52 weeks and the wage the worker is receiving for the light duty work.

Refusing Light Duty Work

Your employer may pressure you to accept an offer of light duty work before you are ready to return to work. It may threaten to stop your TTD benefits and terminate your employment if you reject a job that it believes reasonably accommodates you. However, you understand your health limitations better than your employer. If you plan to reject light duty work, you need a doctor to confirm your physical status and explain why performing the light duty work would be detrimental to your recovery. It is better to have a doctor’s recommendation than to refuse work because of what you think are your physical restrictions.

Protecting Your Benefits

Your employer and its insurer will scrutinize your physical recovery status because it is in their financial interest to end your workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. However, returning to work too soon can cause a setback in your recovery. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will stand up to your employer when it tries to limit your benefits. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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