Labor and Economic Opportunity
Does my employer have to bring me back to work?
The law does not require the employer to offer a job. However, many employers try to make restricted work available for their injured employees whenever they are cleared to return to some form of work.
Must I accept any offer of a job?
If the employer of record, or any other employer offers an injured worker a job which he or she can reasonably perform, the worker must accept the job or face the loss of benefits. The job offered does not have to be at the same skill or pay level that the worker was doing. However you may be eligible for a partial workers’ compensation payment. If a worker returns to a job, tries and is unable to do it, his or her benefits should be resumed depending on the specific circumstances.
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
Section 319 of the Act provides that a worker has a right to vocational rehabilitation benefits under certain circumstances. Vocational rehabilitation is a set of services to help injured workers re-enter the workforce. A vocational counselor helps you return to your current job or a new one by identifying interests, skills and abilities, evaluating potential accommodations, providing job readiness assistance, outlining career objectives, and arranging retraining opportunities. These services are paid for by the employer/insurance carrier, so in most cases you must have an a open workers’ compensation claim to receive rehabilitation benefits.
Are vocational rehabilitation benefits offered to me automatically?
In most cases the employer will offer to provide rehabilitation services and will pay the rehabilitation agency directly. If these services are not offered, the worker can request them from the employer/insurance carrier, or seek assistance from the agency. If disputes arise concerning rights or responsibilities for vocational rehabilitation, an application for mediation or hearing can be filed with the agency and a hearing will be scheduled before a representative of the director.