Light Duty Trap
In a previous post I encouraged you to have an open mind if your employer offers light duty work while you are recovering from your injury. It is generally a good thing to remain connected to your employer and the work force.
I touch on this topic again to alert you to the down side of light duty work. If you are working light duty, your employer can still fire you for cause. If you are fired for cause, you do not receive time loss benefits. The employer will argue light duty work was available for you, but because of your own actions you are no longer working. Time loss is not payable, since it is not your injury which is preventing you from working and receiving a paycheck.
The most common scenario is a worker who does not call in to report an absence while on light duty. Most employers have a call in policy of one sort or another, some less strictly enforced then others. But I promise, if you violate these internal company polices while on light duty, you will find yourself out of a job, light duty or otherwise.
There is also the occasional horror story of an employer and co-workers treating a worker on light duty so poorly, that the light duty worker gets fed up and quits the job. Again, no time loss is payable, as the reason the worker is not collecting a paycheck has nothing to do with the work injury. I often tell my clients, your employer does not have to be nice to you.
The lesson here is to mind your P’s and Q’s. Follow company rules to the letter, even if no one else does. Walk away from taunts and mocking. Enforce the written restrictions from your medical provider. If your employer is one of the good guys, light duty work will be a valuable bridge during your recovery. If your employer is not on the up and up, the light duty job will evaporate just as quickly as it materialized. If the employer indicates they no longer have light duty work for you, at least your time loss benefits will immediately restart.
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