Seeking Reemployment After a Work Injury
If you've sufferer from a work-related illness or injury, you may find that you need some time off work.
Beyond needing medical treatment, you may also find that you need a period of rehabilitation, which can make it impossible to fulfill your usual role at work.
However, you do need to do your best to return to work within any restrictions given to you by your doctor, after you have reached the maximum medical improvement possible.
To help you understand your rights and obligations regarding reemployment after a work injury, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions below.
Can my employer fire me, if I receive worker’s compensation benefits and I’m not working?
While you cannot be fired in retaliation for filing, or even attempting to file, for worker’s compensation benefits, by law, your employer is not required to hold your position open for you until you return to work. This means that your role may temporarily be filled by a new or existing co-worker until you can resume work.
Do I need to return to work in the same capacity as before?
Sometimes it can take a long time for someone to be able to return to work in the same capacity as before. However, they may be well enough to perform some other duties. As such, your doctor may release you for modified or light duties, before you have reached maximum medical improvement. This is beneficial to both you and your employer.
Can I receive reemployment assistance and worker’s compensation benefits at the same time?
You cannot receive reemployment assistance and worker’s compensation benefits at the same time, if you are receiving temporary or permanent total disability benefits. This is because you must be medically able and available to work to qualify for unemployment.
If I am unable to return to doing the type of work I was doing before I was injured, what can I do instead?
In some instances, a worker may never be able to return to doing the variety of work that they were doing before they were injured. This is common in cases where
the worker was performing a physical role, but are now no longer physical capable of doing the same role.
In these cases, you may be eligible for a number of reemployment services to help you find an alternative role. These could include:
- Transferable skills analysis
- Vocational counseling
- On-the-job training
- Formal re-training
- Job-seeking skills
- Employment placements
The Reemployment Service will conduct a vocational assessment to determine which services you are eligible to receive. If additional information is needed after the assessment, you may then be referred for a vocational evaluation that determines the skills you need to help you return to suitable employment.