Once workers’ compensation has been secured and injuries begin to heal, the time comes to plan for a safe return to work.Typically, it is in the best interest of both the employer and the employee to return to work as soon as possible, but determining a timeline and setting boundaries may be overwhelming. Here are some tips and considerations when preparing for a return to work.
Understand Work Restrictions
Safety should be a priority when planning a return to work. With the help of your medical care provider, decide on any work restrictions and ensure these boundaries are carefully documented for presentation to your employer.
Common adaptations include:
Among other strategies, the above adaptations can aid in a safe attempt to return to work with reasonable adjustments.
Employers have a duty to respect sensible modifications. Attempts to pressure or require an employee to perform tasks that are unsafe or in violation of the stated, agreed upon restrictions and adaptations is a violation of the worker’s legal rights.
Early Return to Work
There are benefits to returning to work as soon as possible after a workplace injury, even if you are returning in a limited capacity. If you return to work early and at a lower pay rate than you received prior to injury, you may continue to collect Temporary PartialDisability (TPD) payments in addition to your wages.
While you may be hesitant to return before it is necessary or before you can work at the same pay rate and productivity level as was possible before being injured, attempting a return may put you in abetter position to obtain additional benefits than refusing the chance to return.
There may be financial and morale benefits to returning to work early, but it is crucial to avoid returning to work before you are ready, as this could cause you to get re-injured and further prolong a return to normalcy. Listen to recommendations from a trusted medical professional. If your doctor recommends you return to work but you do not feel you are yet capable, you have the right to challenge the report and take the time necessary to recover.
Seek Support From an Attorney
Regardless of the path your return to work takes, a workers’ compensation lawyer can provide support, expertise, and relief during the workers’ comp process and through the eventual return to work. Rachel Fitzgerald can be your advocate and help you secure the compensation you deserve.