Was your employee hurt while on the job? They have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits and to take time off to recover from their injuries. Once they are ready to do so, they can return to work. There are specific rules and regulations that employers in California must follow when a worker is ready to transition off workers’ compensation and back to the job. Within this article, our California workers’ compensation defense attorney provides an overview of your options as an employer for when your employee is ready to return to the job after receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
Option #1: Allowed the Worker to Return to their Previous Job Position
One option available is to allow the worker to return to their original job position. If the employee has fully recovered and can perform their previous job duties without restriction, this is the right option. Indeed, this is the primary option in workers’ compensation cases. As a baseline, it should be assumed that a worker will return to their position once they heal from their injuries—and most people who file for workers’ compensation in California only miss a relatively short amount of time.
Option #2: Allowed the Worker to Return to their Previous Job Position (With Modifications)
If the injured employee is unable to perform their original job duties but can work with some accommodations, employers might consider modifying the employee’s work environment or responsibilities. Adjustments could include altering work hours, implementing ergonomic changes, or reassigning specific tasks. Employers should work closely with the employee and their healthcare provider to understand their limitations and ensure the modifications are appropriate and effective.
Option #3: Offer the Worker an Alternative Position (At Least 85% of Wages)
In situations where returning to the original job, even with modifications, is not feasible, offering an alternative position is another viable option. The alternative position should pay at least 85% of the wages that the injured worker was earning at the time of injury and be suitable to the employee’s work restrictions and qualifications. Notably, employers in California must also ensure the new job role aligns with the worker’s physical capabilities.
Option #4: Offer Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (Only if the Worker Cannot Return)
If the injured worker is unable to return to any form of employment within the company, employers may need to offer Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB). In California, SJDB is for employees who cannot return to work due to their injuries and who need some form of job retraining or skill enhancement to work in another occupation.
Reach Out to Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Comp Defense Attorney
At Yrulegui & Roberts, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense lawyers are laser-focused on helping employees navigate complex legal issues. We put your best interests first. Get in touch with us by phone or contact us online to set up your completely confidential initial appointment. We defend workers’ compensation cases in Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield, and all across the wider region.