Does My Employer Have To Put Me Back To Work When My Doctor Releases Me To Work?

Your doctor may have determined that you are capable of returning to work but not performing your usual duties. If the doctor has provided work restrictions, then your employer has an affirmative duty to find modified or alternative work that you are physically capable of performing. It requires the employer to discuss with you the limitations imposed by the doctor and evaluating your current position to determine if it can be reasonably accommodated so you could perform your former work [modified work] or identifying different positions/jobs at the employer that you would be capable of performing with or without reasonable accommodation [alternative work]. We commonly refer to this as mod/alt work. Usually, if you are provided modified work, your wages will remain the same.  If modified work is not available, an alternative job will pay at least 85% of the wages you earned at the time you were hurt. The choice to accept alternative work is yours, and yours alone. However, if you reject an offer of alternative work, you may not be reinstated at your place of employment and you may lose your job. It may also diminish your permanent disability by 15%.    

If you are not able to return to work in a modified or alternative capacity, then you would be eligible to receive a supplemental job displacement voucher, which you will be able to use for educational purposes. The amount the voucher depends on the severity of your disability.  The greater the disability, the larger the voucher. Approved vendors can be found at the following link:  http://www.bppe.ca.gov/schools/approved_schools.shtml

There is also a FAQs page at the Dept. of Industrial Relations that will answer most of your questions:  http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/SJDB/SJDB_FAQ.html