Workers Compensation laws vary from state to state.  In addition, the federal government has its own system for providing Workers’ Comp to federal employees.  The following is a set of recommended guidelines which facilitate providing a light duty job to an injured employee in almost every jurisdiction.

  • Provide a detailed job description to obtain a physician’s release for your employee to return to light duty which meets prescribed restrictions. Restrictions may limit work activities or temporarily reduce the number of hours the employee can work. A job description is a one or two-page document that describes the proposed light duty job. It is the cornerstone for communicating with your employee’s healthcare provider to determine physical work restrictions. It should describe:
    • Job duties and tasks the job requires.
    • Tools and equipment required to perform the job.
    • How often and how long the employee would do the tasks.
    • Physical demands required to perform the job.
    • Work hours, location and start date
  • Tasks assigned as part of a light duty job should be meaningful and productive; they should be both inherently valuable to the employer and not demeaning to the employee.
  • Ensure that employees have been medically cleared by a physician to work a light duty assignment.
  • Light duty work offers should always be extended in writing. The light duty job offer letter should identify the position offered, include a description of the duties required, and clearly specify the physical demands of the job. The offer letter should also clearly list the start date, hours and restrictions.
  • Standard company policies and performance expectations should continue to apply in light duty jobs.
  • The injured employee’s supervisor should be advised of their current physical restrictions. The supervisor should also be informed that the injured worker’s doctor has approved the light duty job description.
  • Should the injured worker experience any difficulties in the performance of their light duty tasks, they must report them to their supervisor immediately. The injured worker’s supervisor should work cooperatively with them to prevent re-injury or aggravation of their present physical condition. After an injured employee returns to work:
    • Regularly check with the employee to see how his/her work and recovery are progressing.
    • Make certain any medical / physical restrictions on work tasks are being met.
    • Continue contact with the health-care provider; obtain his/her approval for any changes in duties.
    • Notify the claim manager if you are not able to accommodate ongoing or permanent restrictions.