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Workers Compensation: Return & Accommodations

What are the policies concerning employees returning from workers' compensation leave? Since each state administers its own workers' compensation program, there might be variations in coverage and benefits. The federal government also administers its program for federal workers.

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Employers should refer to their state's workers' compensation laws to figure out the rights of employees returning after an office injury or illness.

Workers' Compensation: Return

If an employee on workers' compensation leave receives the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), he or she is protected under that law. FMLA provides staff members with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, which might accompany workers' compensation leave. Under the FMLA, employers can not require FMLA-qualified employees to go back to work in a different position before their 12 weeks of leave are exhausted. Upon going back to work, these workers need to be returned to their comparable or former positions.

If an employee is provided a light-duty or alternate position, he or she can figure out whether to accept the position or make use of FMLA leave. If FMLA leave has been exhausted and the used position is decreased, workers' compensation benefits might cease. If the provided position is accepted, the staff member has the right to be returned to his or her original position or an equivalent position when cleared to return to work without restrictions.

Workers' Compensation: Accommodations

Suppose a worker's office injury or illness is certified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In that case, the company may need to supply the employee with reasonable accommodations for the staff member to be able to perform the necessary functions of his or her former job unless the employee is willing to move to another position that better accommodates the disability. However, the ADA does not need a new position to be created as an accommodation, suggesting that if a new position were the only option, the company would not need to allow the employee to return to work.

Want to learn more? Reach out to one of our Workers' Compensation experts by calling 909.466.7876 today or visit our office at Rancho Cucamonga.

Also, find out here how you can boost your younger employees' productivity and safety by reading these "Tips for Teen Workers".