Return to Work and Job offers

Medical restrictions may prevent your employee from returning to their regular job after a workplace injury.

However, it is possible for them to return to work in a different capacity (light duty) while still receiving medical benefits. Research shows the sooner your employee returns to work, the more likely they’ll preserve future income and health.

Returning to work as quickly as possible is a team effort between you, your employee, and their attending provider. We can provide assistance if needed to facilitate a smooth return to work.

Light duty work

Light duty is work you may offer within your employee’s medical restrictions for them to perform while they recover. Light duty doesn’t have to directly relate to the work your employee was doing when they were injured.

Light duty or transitional work could be:

  • Working shorter hours.
  • Doing some of the original duties part time and gradually increase to full time work.
  • Performing different duties with lighter physical demands and grow into the original duties.
  • Adjusting the job or worksite to meet the physical limitations by providing tools, equipment, or appliances.
  • Creating a new job within the medical restrictions while your employee recovers.

You may be eligible for reimbursements through our Stay at Work program for some of your base wages and expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty work.

The attending provider must approve the light duty work when:

  • When you have light-duty work available.
  • You want to change the light-duty or transitional work.
  • The attending provider increases the worker’s restrictions.

Recovering employees are not required to accept any job that exceeds the restrictions given by their attending provider. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, it is your responsibility to ensure your employee does not work outside of their restrictions without written approval from the attending provider.

Occasionally an employer wants to bring someone back to light duty, and can only afford to bring their employee back to work part time or at a lower rate of pay. If this happens and the claim is still open your employee may apply for Loss of Earning Power (LEP) benefits.

Some injuries are so severe you cannot bring your employee back to work right away. However, with most injuries, an early and medically-approved return to work makes sense. Talk with your employee today about work they may be able to perform while they heal.

We can help you find opportunities for light duty modifications or equipment for your employee’s successful return to light duty or transitional work.

Job Description Completion

Find job duties your employee can perform within the limits from the attending provider. Use the medical notes in the claim file or Activity Prescription Form as a guide to not go above the work or hour limits given by the attending provider. Contact the attending provider for current or updated work restrictions if needed.

Identify:

  • Job duties and tasks the job requires.
  • Tools and equipment required to perform the job.
  • How often and how long they would perform the tasks.
  • Physical demands of the tasks.
  • List of accommodations to the tasks, if appropriate.

Use this information to complete the Employer’s Job Description Form (F252-040-000)(Spanish).

Tips for filling out the Employer’s Job Description Form
What the job description asks forWhat it means
Essential Job Duties Brief description of the work duties
Tools Tools needed to do the job
Physical Demands Description of the task
Frequency How long activity is performed

Job analysis

A job analysis is a document that identifies and describes the activities, duties, and functions a worker does for a job. Only credentialed vocational rehabilitation specialists may complete a job analysis. Contact your claims manager for assistance or contact ERTW@Lni.wa.gov for a referral for a specialist in your area.

Attending provider approval

The attending provider must approve the light duty work when:

  • When you have light-duty work available.
  • You want to change the light-duty or transitional work.
  • The attending provider increases the worker’s restrictions

When you send a Job Description or Job Analysis to the attending provider, or when the worker's duties change, you must send a copy to the worker as well.

Job Offer Letters

As the employer, you may offer work to your employee when there are work restrictions given by the attending provider.

You may provide a written job offer to your employee for both light duty and transitional work. A formal offer is required for any modified permanent work being offered.

The written job offer makes all parties aware of the work being offered.

Sample light duty job offer
Sample permanent job offer

The work performed must:

• Have some relationship to the worker’s employment,
• Provide a meaningful and respectful work environment,
• Be for the employer of record, and
• Enhance the skills and knowledge of the worker.

More information

Any health and welfare benefits that the employee was received at the time of injury shall be continued or resumed at the same level they had at the time of injury. Unless there was a change in benefits consistent to all employees with you.

The wage for a transitional job is set by the employer, but must meet the minimum wage laws for the jurisdiction in which the worker’s job site is located.

Wages for transitional work are not considered Kept on Salary. Kept on Salary is where a worker receives full wages from the employer of record without requirement of attendance or work performed.