Light-Duty Work After a Work-Related Injury in Florida: Everything You Need to Know
After a work-related injury, the best option is often to avoid working or being physically active while you recover. However, in some cases, doctors recommend that you remain active to speed up the recovery.
That is where doing light-duty work may be an excellent option to be active while earning money. Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, your employer must offer you light duty working options after a workplace injury.
If your employer cannot do that for some reason, then he or she is required to provide you the full amount of your weekly benefits. But what is light-duty work and can you refuse to return to work while recovering?
What is Light-Duty Work?
Generally, when someone is injured on the job, they choose to take off work to recover, undergo surgery, or go through medical treatment. When this happens, the employer will provide weekly benefits – workers’ compensation – while his or her employee is recovering.
If you can return to work while still recovering, your doctor may restrict certain work-related activities because you may not be able to perform all of your pre-injury duties. In this situation, your employer must offer a light-duty working option.
Typically, light-duty work does not involve lifting things, bending, squatting, and other physically demanding activities, which must be limited while a worker is recovering. Usually, a light-duty position means taking an office job instead of performing your regular duties, which may be more physically demanding in nature.
The most basic rule is that a light-duty working option must accommodate all of the restrictions imposed by your physician.
How Much Money Can You Receive for Light Duty Work While Recovering?
Your employer must pay you the same amount of money for light-duty work as for your normal position. However, there may be exceptions.
For example, if your hours are limited because your physician says you should not work more than four hours a day, then your workers’ comp benefits will cover the rest. In this limited working hours situation, workers are paid to the full amount of their weekly benefits.
Generally, if a worker is not earning at least 80% of what he or she made prior to the work-related injury, he or she will receive additional compensation through workers’ comp. However, workers’ comp benefits cannot exceed more than two thirds (66%) of what you earned prior to the injury.
Can You Refuse to Do Light Duty Work?
Generally, workers must take light-duty work when their employer makes such an offer and their physician determines that the injured worker can return to work with certain restrictions.
If you refuse to do light-duty work, your workers’ comp award could be affected. Under Florida’s workers’ comp law, an injured worker must do his/her best to recover from their injury and must be willing to return to work. Your unwillingness to work may cause you to lose your benefits.
However, if your employer is trying to demean or harass a worker when assigning light-duty work, there might be an exception. Employers have no right to treat their employees poorly or retaliate against them in any way because of workplace injuries.
Contact our Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys to determine whether you can refuse to do light duty work or discuss your options when considering light duty working options. Contact our team here at Kobal Law to receive a consultation. Call at 813-873-2440.