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Light duty pay question Arkansas

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  • Light duty pay question Arkansas

    I've tried to find this online and failed, so I would appreciate assistance!

    My husband is a truck driver for a city-wide freight service. He was injured on the job last week. Company doc put him on light duty (his knee was hurt so badly the doc said no truck driving, no lifting, etc.). Light duty cut his pay nearly in half. He's still above minimum wage, but the difference in pay will hurt us in an extreme way financially. Is it really OK to pay him so little when he was hurt doing the work they assigned? He saw the doctor again today and light duty will continue until next week. I know there's a seven day wait for the w/c insurance to kick in to pay him, but it may not take seven days to get back to regular duty. In the meantime we're out half a paycheck.

    Also, it's not a union shop, if that matters.

    Thanks for any info!

  • #2
    I am not the best person to answer this, so watch for other answers.
    - If we are talking direct labor law only, then this is legal. Employers can change pay rates on a go forward basis only as long as there are no legal impediments. If there had been no injury it would (probably) have been legal to change the employee's job classification, and what injury related rules (FMLA) protect somewhat against termination and offer unpaid leave (not your issue).
    - WC is the big question mark. Follow up on that. That is very state specific and I have no idea how WC is handled in your state.
    - Short term disability insurance is the other big question. A very few states mandate this, but I do not think your state is one of those few states. Some employers offer a voluntary insurance benefit that costs the employee money when they choose it. Again, you would know if the employee was offered and did accept that.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


    • #3
      Thanks ... I figured it had to be legal (just hoped differently) since the company is a large one covering several states. Legal and fair are just not always the same.


      • #4
        In every state it is legal to pay reduced wages for light duty. If the reduced wages are under a certain amount, your husband would qualify for Temporary Partial Disability which pays part of the difference. Every state is different as to the threshold for TPD and it also varies based on what his wages actually are. Typically, the general rule of thumb is that WC pays 2/3 of the average weekly wage when someone is out entirely (subject to the waiting period). If the reduced wage is less than what the 2/3rds would be, you get the difference between the actual wage and the 2/3rds. If you usually make $300 a week, then WC would pay $200 if off work. if on light duty he is only making $100, he would get TPD of $100 plus his wages of $100.

        Employers may choose to maintain the full wages while on light duty but they are not obligated to do so.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


        • #5
          States do vary on how TPD is paid/calculated, however the general rule is 2/3's of the difference in your actual wage and the AWW/Average Weekly Wage, TPD is tax free, and not intended to make you "whole".