Returning to the Job After a Workplace Injury: Light Duty
You’re working, are involved in an accident, and are injured. This scenario happens every day and, unfortunately, affects individuals and families across the state.
Thankfully, New Jersey has a law in place called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It exists specifically to help you and your family in these sorts of situations. The FMLA makes sure that you’re protected from being physically incapacitated and unable to work due to a work-related injury.
Perhaps, more importantly, the FMLA ensured that your employer is required to pay your workers’ compensation until you’re able to return to the job. What happens after you’ve recovered, though? What happens when your employer requests that you return to work in a limited-capacity and perform light duty?
As construction accident attorneys in New Jersey, we’re here to help. Find a guide to returning to light duty work below and don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn all of your options.
Light Duty After an Accident
Returning to work after an accident is often overwhelming. To help ease this burden physical and emotional burden, employers have the option of offering light duty to returning workers. Employers are not required to offer light duty. If they opt not to, they must pay you temporary disability benefits. These are tax-free and equal to 70% of the worker’s average weekly wage.
If your employer does offer light duty, there are three things that have to happen before you are legally required to return to work.
First, your employer must send your authorized doctor a description of what the light duty work is. This includes a description of all the tasks to be performed, the hours, and the rate of pay.
Next, your authorized doctor has to approve of the light duty work. If they don’t, you’re able to retain temporary disability benefits until your employer offers medically acceptable light duty work.
Finally, if your authorized doctor approves the light duty work, your employer or their insurance company have to send you a WC-240 form. This is a legal document that serves as a written notice from employer to employee that light duty work is available.
Your employer must send the WC-240 form with at least ten days advance notice. This gives you enough time to prepare to return to work without feeling forced. It also helps you feel comfortable in your return and minimizes the risk of reinjury.
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t return to work until you feel completely comfortable. Not only could this result in your prolonging your injury or reinjuring yourself, but it also opens up other employees to risk of injury. If you aren’t recovered enough to return to light duty work, do not let your employer pressure you to return.
You are still entitled to receive temporary disability benefits as long as your approved doctor signs off.
Contact our experienced personal injury laywers today to make sure your employer is providing the necessary accommodations, so you can recover from your injury.