Returning to Work After an Injury: Regular, Modified, and Alternative Work

Returned to Work After Injury

Employees who are injured on the job must attend regular doctor’s visits during the course of their recovery. Medical inspections in work injury cases don’t only serve the purpose of helping an injury victim heal — the doctors also evaluate when an employee is able to return to work.

Your doctor may order that you are well enough to return to regular work. When you are able to return to regular work, you will simply continue working in the role you had at the time of your injury, with the same pay and benefits.

Following an on-the-job injury, you may be healthy enough to return to work, but not regular work. For employees who are not able to return to their previous role but can work, their employer may offer modified work or alternative work. The terms of modified and alternative work are often defined by a doctor.

What is Modified Work?

Employees who are ordered by their doctor to engage in modified work following an occupational injury can return to their former role, but with a few changes. If you are ordered to return to work that is modified, your doctor will establish restrictions. This may include different job responsibilities, the use of different equipment, or an alternative schedule.

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) states that the modified work position must last at least 12 months, and the employee must be paid at least 85% of their previous wages and benefits.

What is Alternative Work?

Alternative work is different from regular and modified work because the employee will not return to their previous role at all. They will still be working at the same company but in another position.

Employees who are in alternative work roles also must stay in their new role for a minimum of 12 months and will be paid at least 85% of their wages and benefits.

To discuss your workers’ compensation case during a free consultation, send us a message or call (818) 946-0608.