When a workers’ comp authorized doctor renders an opinion that an employee is injured, but not injured enough to stay home from work, the doctor may issue orders to place that employee on “light duty.”
If an employee is on light duty, that means he or she can return to work, but with limitations.
For instance, the employee cannot lift more than ten pounds, or the employee must have a sitting option available. Some large employers have mandatory light-duty positions, such as a desk job, and other companies have specific jobs for employees on light duty.
These jobs can be a bit distressing for an injured worker who may be used to feeling very productive in the workplace. We have seen situations where injured workers have been required to sort nuts and bolts out of a box in a hot garage when the injured worker was used to driving a truck on a regular basis.
What if My Employer Doesn't Have Light Duty Work Available?
There are some instances where an employer may not have light duty work available within your restrictions.
Working for a drywall company, for instance, requires demanding manual labor, so it is unlikely that a drywall company will have a legitimate light duty job for an injured worker.
If your employer does not have light duty work available for you or does not have enough hours when compared to the total amount of your previous wages, then you may be able to receive wage loss benefits.
Your authorized doctor is required to fill out a form known as the Florida Workers’ Compensation Uniform Medical Treatment/Status Report Form, or DWC-25, which you will then give to your employer to formally advise of the light duty the doctor has ordered.
5 Things You Should Do When You Are Put on Light Duty at Work, But There Are No Light Duty Jobs Available
1) Keep a record of the date you were placed on light duty;
2) Keep a record of the dates and times you called your workplace, and some detail of what was discussed;
3) If your employer tells you they do not have any light duty for you, keep a good record of the conversation;
4) Check in with your employer frequently to see whether they have any light duty within your restrictions;
5) If you are finally offered a light-duty position, accept it, even if you do not like the job. If you are offered light-duty work and do not at least try it, then it is possible that workers’ comp may not have to pay your wage loss benefits.
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