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Cleared Light Duty? New Jersey

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  • Cleared Light Duty? New Jersey

    I broke my ankle on the job. It required surgery. I have been out now for 6 weeks. I have been collecting workmans comp. The doctor cleared me today for light duty. I have 2 questions

    1 In my line of work I am paid by the piece ( installation of Cable TV and related products ) if I work light duty in the office how is my rate of pay established?
    2 The work office is on the 2nd floor with no elavator, I would rather just not return to work until I can bear weight on my ankle, but my employer has requested that I come to work in the office. Can I waive the worker comp benifits and deny the work from this point on till I feel I am ready to return to work?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    If your pay rate is less than what you usually made, w/c can pick up the difference. For example if you made $100 per day and office work pays $80 per day, then generally w/c will pick up the other $20. Note this is a general response as I don't see which state you are in.

    If you qualify for FMLA (your employer has 50 or more employees in a 50 mile radius, you have worked for your company for one year, and you worked 1,250 hours in the year immediately preceeding your ankle injury), you can decline return to light duty and exercise your FMLA rights. However, you will be forfeiting your workers' compensation indemnity benefits.

    I would encourage you to try a return to light duty. They are generally more successful than not, and it will keep you financially whole. Additionally, if you have another event in the next year that necessitates time away from work, you will still have your FMLA allotment to draw from.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      Originally posted by HR/DisMgr View Post
      (your employer has 50 or more employees in a 50 mile radius
      It's 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

      If the employee/employer/injury all qualified for FMLA, the employer was required to put the employee on FMLA while out - injured at work or not. It's the law. You can use FMLA for a WC injury - it's not one or the other. If FMLA applied, the 6 wks. already out should have been charged to FMLA while getting paid WC.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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      • #4
        I defer to Betty3, you are right, it is a 75 mile radius. I think I was on autopilot and not a good one at that!

        Yes, if the injury qualified for FMLA, it should have been applied, but it appears if he has only used 6 weeks; if both he and the employer qualify, and if he has not taken any other FMLA time in the employer's year (that is a lot of ifs), he may STILL have 6 weeks remaining. He can exercise those rights instead of returning to light duty work.

        BTW, many employers don't charge FMLA to w/c injuries and I don't know why.


        • #5
          Every state has a provision for temporary partial disability, but it is usually a percentage of the difference between your average weekly wage/comp rate and your actual wages in the light duty job.
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