Joshua M. Bloom & Associates, P.C.
Local : 412-567-6650
Toll Free : 866-974-0915

MUST YOU PERFORM "NO DUTY," LIGHT DUTY, OR MODIFIED DUTY WORK?

If you suffered a work injury and are not physically capable of performing the light or modified duty job your employer has offered, you should ask your physician to indicate in writing the reasons you are not physically capable of performing that work.  If you do not perform the light or modified duty work and do not have that documentation from your doctor, the employer and its workers' compensation insurance company may be entitled to reduce or suspend your wage loss benefits.

Sometimes, the employer offers the injured employee full pay so long as the employee shows up at the jobsite to perform little or not any work at all. Even when the employer offers a "no duty" job, the employer still may be entitled to reduce or suspend the injured worker's wage loss benefits if he or she does not report to the "no duty" job and does not have medical documentation indicating the job is outside his or her restrictions. The injured worker may not be physically capable of performing the "no duty" job. For example, the side effects of the injured worker's medications may prevent him or her from performing the "no duty" job. (See Channellock, Inc. v. WCAB (Reynolds), 72 A.3d 731 (Pa. Commw. 2013)). If so, the injured worker should obtain documentation from his or her treating physician saying so.

If you have been off work and have been receiving wage loss benefits but then return to a "no duty," light duty, or modified duty job paying the same amount you earned before your work injury, your employer's workers' compensation insurance company probably will mail you a Notice of Suspension.  If you cannot continue performing the job, you can challenge the Notice of Suspension so long as you file your challenge with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation within twenty (20) days of receiving the Notice of Suspension.  If you file such a challenge, a hearing will be scheduled before a workers' compensation judge. At that hearing, you can seek an immediate reinstatement of your wage loss benefits.  If you do not file such a challenge within twenty (20) days of receiving the Notice of Suspension, obtaining reinstatement of your wage loss benefits is more difficult.

If your treating physician believes it is safe for you to at least try to perform the work your employer has offered, you should either attempt to do so or seek a second medical opinion.  If you attempt to perform the work and find out you are not physically capable of performing the job, you should challenge any Notice of Suspension as outlined above, treat again with your physician, advise your physician of the specific reasons you could not continue performing the job you attempted, and ask your physician to indicate in writing the reasons you cannot perform that work.

Of course, in order to get the best advice when faced with any return-to-work situation, the injured worker always should contact our law firm (412-288-6000) right away for a free consultation.

Meet Our Attorneys

Joshua M. Bloom & Associates, P.C.
3204 Grant Building
310 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Toll Free: 866-974-0915
Phone: 412-567-6650
Fax: 412-288-6010
Map & Directions

Joshua M. Bloom & Associates, P.C.
Back To Top