After a workplace accident, you took time off to recover. Your doctor cleared you to return to work, and you want to make sure you do everything right.
The Society for Human Resources Management breaks down the process for returning to work after a workplace injury. Ensure your employer handles the situation the right way.
Light-duty work assignment
Companies should prioritize getting injured employees back to work, even if the employee may only work a light-duty assignment. Depending on the workers’ compensation provider, companies may have access to return-to-work program assistance.
Doctor-directed medical restrictions
Depending on the injury and the patient’s recovery, a doctor may clear the person for work under specific medical restrictions. That could mean the person may only work a less mentally and physically intense job than her or his normal position. Employees who qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act leave may reject a light-duty assignment and remain on leave. If so, the company cannot punish or strike back against the employee for not accepting light duty. Employers can prevent the injured worker from receiving short-term disability and wage replacement benefits offered by workers’ comp if the person remains on leave instead of returning to work when cleared for light-duty.
Making temporary accommodations for recovering employees benefits the company and the employee. Companies benefit from temporary accommodations by saving money on overtime and hiring temporary help. Employees have the chance to feel like they contribute to the company’s success again.
Take your time while recovering from your workplace injury and getting back to the office. Understanding the process of returning to work helps to protect your rights.