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Dr.'s Release to Return to Work After LTD Florida

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  • Dr.'s Release to Return to Work After LTD Florida

    I have been on LTD due to cancer, and I am returning to work in 2 weeks. My doctor and I agree that I need to take it slow and work back up to 8 hours a day. I spoke to my employer's HR Manager about this, that I want to come in at 8AM each morning and work for a few hours, or until I get tired. I intend to build up each week, and I don't anticipate it will take very long for me to be able to work full-time. She indicated to me that they can't accept a release that is worded to basically leave it up to me how long I can work. I understand it can't be too broad, but I am afraid if it is worded to specifically, like "patient can work up to 4 hours a day," then I will be expected to work 4 hours a day until I get another release! Is there a law or statute on this? Is she right, that it has to be so specific?

  • #2
    The law is not that specific.

    Particularly given that you have been on LTD, which means that you have been out longer than the law guarantees you, the law does not specifically say that she can or cannot require a specific note. She doesn't HAVE to let you return to work at all, or she could require that you wait until you are cleared to return to work with no restrictions.

    About the only way I can conceive of their being required to follow your suggestion would be IF your condition would fall under the ADA (we do not know if it would or not) AND IF allowing you a flexible shift, with you deciding how long you can work each day, would be a reasonable accomodation (and again we do not know if it would or not, though I find it questionable) AND IF there were no other reasonable accomodation that would allow you to perform the essential functions of your position, including waiting until you can return to work with no restrictions. That's an awful lot of ifs and maybes.

    What would probably make more sense would be for you to talk to your doctor about how long you can reasonably be expected to work and for how long, for example, four hours a week for two weeks; then six hours for another two weeks, and so on. Or whatever you and your doctor think will work. Then present that option. It sounds as if they are willing to work with you but need something a little more specific than just "till I get tired" and I can't blame her for that.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Thank You

      Thank you so much for your reply. You are right; I am extremely fortunate that my employer is letting me come back to work at all (I have been out for 9 months!). I will talk to my doctor as you suggested and see if we can come up with a timetable.

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