When your workers’ compensation doctor decides that you are able to return to work, but with some restrictions, this is called returning to work on light duty or sedentary duty. Light and sedentary restrictions can be temporary or permanent.
Temporary restrictions usually occur when you are still seeing the doctor and recovering from your injury. This may come in the form of a restriction on the number of hours you can work per day, or restrictions on the type of work you can do––walking, sitting, kneeling, lifting etc.
It is not uncommon for a recovering employee to be restricted to working only 4-6 hours per day for a period of time before returning to their normal work schedule. On the hand, the doctor may determine that you can work a full day if you avoid engaging in certain activities, such as lifting more than 20 pounds or standing for more than 10 minutes at a time.
It’s important that you know what these restricted activities are so that you know what your employer’s obligations are to you. Some employers will accommodate your restrictions and some may not. If your employer cannot accommodate your light duty restrictions or is unwilling to do so, you will be eligible to receive total temporary disability benefits until your employer accommodates you, or your doctor discharges you to return to work at full duty.
If your doctor discharges you to return to work, but with permanent restrictions, your employer has no obligation to accommodate your permanent restrictions. However, you may apply under The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-12) (LAD) to be reasonably accommodated.
If you are unable to continue working in your previous position with your permanent restrictions, your employer has no obligation to provide you with any type of retraining. However, The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers vocational rehabilitation programs, and you may be entitled to receive training, education, and even unemployment benefits while you are undergoing retraining and looking for a new job.
If you are an employee who has been injured on the job and you are experiencing difficulties returning to work with any work restriction you have been given by your workers’ compensation doctor, you may need the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that you are treated fairly by your employer and that you receive all of the benefits you are entitled to receive under New Jersey workers’ compensation law.
Contact Workman’s Compensation for New Jersey
We help injured New Jersey workers’ locate qualified and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers who can assist them with their workers’ compensation cases. Call Workman’s Compensation for New Jersey today for help locating a workers’ compensation lawyer in your area. Call us at 609-412-4722, or leave us a message via our contact form to arrange a free consultation.