Light Duty – I was given an offer that I can’t refuse?

Confident factory workerSo the doctor has released you back to work, but with restrictions. What do you do now? First thing is to let your employer know by either faxing the work status report to them or bringing it to them in person. Your employer then must create a job for you that accommodates those restrictions, and that must be in writing. In 99% of the cases, that will NOT be the same day you hand them the work-status report. If they don’t have light duty, then the WC insurance carrier must pay you weekly temporary income benefits while you are off from work. There is no requirement that you go and seek work elsewhere, while you are on light duty. Now, if they do have a job you can do that is within the restrictions provided by your doctor, there are certain requirements that MUST be followed:

In accordance with Rule 129.6, the Bona Fide Offer of light duty MUST:

  • Have a copy attached of the work status report on which the offer is being based
  • State the location at which the employee will be working
  • State the schedule the employee will be working
  • State the wages that the employee will be paid
  • Provide a description of the physical and time requirements that the position will entail
  • Provide a statement that the employer will only assign tasks consistent with the employees, physical abilities, knowledge, and skills and provide training if necessary
  • Offer a position for a job at a location which is geographically accessible (129.6(e))

Until such time that they provide the offer of light duty that meets all of the above requirements, in most cases, you would not return back to work. Rule 129 was put in place to protect injured workers from returning back to work, just to be forced to do their regular work, and face worsening their injury. You must be very careful when the employer heads down this path of offers of light duty.

Your money benefits and physical-well being are on the line, and this would be a time to reach out to our Workers’ Compensation Department here at Bailey & Galyen so that we can advise you and protect you from possible re-injury.