Job Offers & Light Duty
If your doctor has released you to return to work at less than full duty, your employer may choose to offer you a less-demanding job until you recover fully. For example, many employers offer light-duty work to injured workers until they recover enough to go back to their time-of-injury job. If your doctor releases you to return to work light duty, you will usually have to accept the light-duty position. If you decline the job offer, the employer may then petition a workers’ comp judge to either reduce or stop your wage-loss benefits based upon that job.
If you do return to modified duty work, your employer does not have to pay you your pre-injury salary. However, they do have to compensate you for 2/3 of the difference between your pre-injury wages and your post-injury wages.
On many occasions, a disagreement arises between the claimant and the employer as to what kind of work the injured worker is capable of doing. If your employer offers you a job outside the work restrictions imposed by your doctor, they can’t force your return to work early. If your doctor has given you restrictions to follow for your recovery, you don’t have to accept a job that exceeds those restrictions. You do, however, have to accept a modified-duty position that falls within your restrictions.
Similarly, if you have undergone an IME and the IME doctor feels you are capable of performing work at a much higher level than your treating doctor, your employer might offer you a job within the restrictions set by the IME doctor. The IME doctor does not get to automatically override your treating doctor. You can continue to remain off work as per your doctor’s instructions. The employer will have to file a petition to stop your wage-loss benefits.
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To speak with an experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney about your workers’ compensation claim, contact McCormick and Vilushis today! There are no consultation fees and we charge no attorney’s fee unless we win your case.