If you were off the job due to a work-related injury and were receiving workers’ comp, you may have reasonable concerns about going back to work. Will you be able to perform the job successfully? Will you aggravate the injury you just recovered from? Will your employer be flexible if you have certain physical restrictions on what you can safely do?
All these worries are quite understandable. As much as you want to get back to work, you want to do so in a manner that protects your physical well-being.
While you are healing
While you are getting better, your doctor will likely communicate with the claims administrator. The doctor will give you the green light to resume your job when it is possible to do so. They may note your work restrictions. Those are meant to safeguard you from getting hurt again.
They could limit the tools and equipment you can use, your working hours, the amount of weight you should lift and your other duties. If your return is restriction-free, “….your employer usually must give you the same job and pay….” you had prior to the injury.
Your doctor may advise that you not go back to your job during your ongoing recuperation. You can’t be compelled to do so.
Who makes the call about whether and when you go back to your job?
Many professionals may be involved in this decision. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, they can include the claims administrator, your physician and managerial-level individuals from your place of work.
They need to know the nature of your responsibilities and how you will fulfill them once you are back at work. That entails understanding the current state of your health, what you did prior to being hurt, what job responsibilities your boss will allocate to you now and what tasks you are presently able to do.
All parties involved should want to help you return to your job safely. If that does not happen, you may want someone who knows workers’ compensation regulations to present the circumstances of your situation to them.