As an injured worker in Pennsylvania, you may be offered light duty work by your employer. While it is important to act quickly, there are many things to consider when presented with the offer of light duty work. For example, if you accept the offer but do not show up on time, your employer may retract the offer or your workers’ compensation benefits may even be terminated completely.
Examples of Light Duty Work
Light duty work is what your employer may offer you if you were injured on the job and you are unable to perform the duties of your pre-injury position. Light duty may be an altered form of your previous job (working at a slower pace, for shorter hours, etc.) or may be an entirely different position than you had before.
Light duty positions may be ones already existing within the company or those created specifically for injured workers incapable of performing regular duty tasks. Light duty may include activities such as:
- Taking inventory
- Performing office work
- Supervising and reporting
- Monitoring surveillance cameras
- Performing maintenance and cleaning
Your doctor will establish restrictions that must be adhered to by both you and your employer. Therefore, if the doctor says you cannot lift more than ten pounds, you must comply with that restriction and your employer may not push you beyond that limit. If your employer does not comply with your medical restrictions, tell your doctor and file an incident report. Going back to regular duty too soon may cause you further injury and ultimately more lost time from work.
Light Duty Considerations
You will continue receiving your workers’ compensation benefits even if you are not offered a light duty job. If you are offered a light duty job, you are not required to accept it if it exceeds your medical restrictions. If your employer offers you light duty work that exceeds your medical restrictions and you deny it, your employer may then request a reevaluation of your benefits by a workers’ compensation judge.
If the light duty job does not exceed your medical restrictions, it may be in your best interest to accept the offer. If it is later determined that you were capable of performing the light duty job and you did not accept it, you may lose your workers’ compensation benefits. Attempt to work with your employer by requesting any additional necessary restrictions so they do not later claim that they would have accommodated your restrictions had they only been informed of them.
Before making any decisions about returning to work, it is always best to consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for advice on the best way to proceed.
Light Duty Affects Workers’ Compensation
Accepting a light duty position can affect your workers’ compensation benefits in two main ways. First, if you accept the light duty work offered by your employer and you make the same amount of money or more than you made in your pre-injury position, you will likely lose your wage benefits. Second, if you are making less money than you did in your pre-injury position, then you may receive partial disability benefits for your wage loss.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Employees Understand their Rights Regarding Light Duty Work
If you were offered light duty work and are unsure of how to proceed, contact a knowledgeable Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We have over 35 years of experience representing injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.