A commonly cited statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that injured employees have only a 50% chance of returning to the workplace after six months have passed. So it is in your interest to see if your employer can give you any kind of work as you recover from your job injury.
In the event of a work injury or illness, California employers must provide support and accommodations to their ailing workers. This assistance often takes the form of offering different types of work to an employee who is on workers’ compensation.
If your injury does not hamper you from doing the job you performed prior to getting hurt, your employer can return you to your old duties. You perform the same tasks and earn your regular wages. However, the employer must ensure that the work environment is safe and does not pose further risk to your health. You might also need reasonable accommodations to help you resume your ordinary tasks.
If your injury keeps you from performing all of your old duties, your employer could alter your tasks or responsibilities to accommodate your injury. Modified work may include light-duty tasks that are less physically demanding or reducing the number of working hours. Ideally, these duties will facilitate your recovery while ensuring you can contribute to the workplace.
It is possible you cannot do your old job at all, but you can still handle some tasks. In this situation, your employer could assign you to a different position within the company that aligns with your abilities and medical restrictions. The alternative work should take your qualifications and skills into account.
Under California law, your modified or alternative work wages must be at least 85% of the wages you had earned prior to your injury. So whatever duties you choose at your current workplace should help you maintain a living until you achieve your full level of recovery.