After your medical provider clears you to return to work, you must do so, or you risk losing your job and workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer does not have to keep your job open for you once your 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave Act time are expended.
Yet returning to work can be fraught for many injured workers. While some will return fully healed and ready to pick up where they left off, others will face enormous complications as they attempt to re-integrate into the workplace.
Note: workers’ compensation should continue to pay for your medical care and transportation costs even after you return to work.
Employers in New York aren’t required to offer light-duty positions, but if they have a position open that works with your medical restrictions, they may do so. It may be a temporary position or a permanent change. It’s an offer they make to you to get you back on the job rather than a requirement they must follow.
Your light-duty position may impact both your pay and your compensation. Employers may pay you less for the new role. You may only be able to work part-time.
Workers’ compensation may pay you a reduced earning benefit if you make less. Workers’ compensation will give you ⅔ of the gap between your old average weekly earnings and your new average weekly earnings, up to the maximum benefit limits. While it won’t restore you to your old wages, it will get you a lot closer to your old earnings and might get you back on your feet.
If the “light duty” work you are offered violates your doctor’s recommendations, you have the right to return to work without suspending your benefits.
You May Qualify for Intermittent Lost Time
If you still have to be absent from time to time due to your injury, you may qualify for workers comp benefits for the days or time you must miss work. For example, if you have ongoing physical therapy appointments that are only available during work time, you might qualify for intermittent time off.
You will require proof that you took the extra time off for medical purposes.
Get Help Today
The vast majority of injured employees will be able to return to work without issue. Some will run into trouble. Remember, your employer may not retaliate against you or discriminate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you find you are running into problems after you return to work, contact our office to get help today.