Less Hours and Less Pay for Light Duty?

Some employers have a nasty way of reducing  injured employees hours who are recovering from a work accident with temporary light duty work restrictions.  You may be entitled to workers' compensation  called temporary partial disability benefits if your take home pay is drastically reduced.  Here's how to know whether you are entitled to these benefits, and how to get them:

1. Find the letter from the adjuster that tells you what your average monthly wage is and what your daily compensation rate is when you are taken off work competely by your treating doctor.  If you haven't received an average monthly wage determination letter, you will have to ask the adjuster to send you one so that you both know whether you are entitled to TPD while working reduced hours on light duty

2. Muliply the daily compensation rate by the number of days in your employer's pay period.  If your employer pays you bi-weekly, you will multiply the daily rate by 14 to get your biweekly compensation rate. If your employer pays you weekly, mulitply the daily rate by 7.

3. Get your paycheck stub and note what your net wages are (meaning those after taxes and deductions).  Do this for each paycheck while you are working light duty.

4. If your net wages are less than your compensation rate for the same time period, then you are entitled to the difference.  (Subtract your net wages from your compensation rate to get the difference.)

5. Send a copy of each paycheck stub that is less than your compensation rate to the adjuster with a request that the adjuster pay TPD.  Allow two weeks before you bug the adjuster about not getting a check. 

6. Make sure that it is your employer that is reducing your hours; not that you are asking for less hours or calling in sick. 

--Written by

Can You Be Fired While You Have a Nevada Comp Claim?

Both employers and injured workers are unsure about the law on firing an injured worker who is actively treating with a doctor on an accepted workers' compensation claim in Nevada.  Most people know that an injured worker cannot be fired simply because he or she files a claim for workers' compensation benefits. There is an old case from the Nevada Supreme Court that allows an injured worker to sue his employer for money if he can prove that the employer fired him for filing a workers' compensation claim. Not too many employers are apt to make the mistake of not having some other reason, real or not, for terminating an injured worker.   In the past, I've only encountered one employer who wrote on a termination notice that  the employee was fired because he "filed a comp claim".  

Most job terminations instead  result from an injured worker not wanting to work temporary light duty work that the employer offers to accommodate the physical restrictions given by a doctor.   If the temporary light duty  work is mindless, and it's a hassle for the injured worker just to get to work, bad feelings quickly develop between the employer and the injured worker.

It may seem like the light duty job is punishment  for getting hurt at work and filing a claim.  And maybe the employer's light duty work program is a thinly veiled threat to employees not too file claims or to get hurt at work.  But, the law only says that  permanent light duty job offers cannot be demeaning and degrading.  Permanent light duty jobs have a completely different set of rules.

Employer can create "special jobs" just for injured employees with open compensation claims and point to statistics that show that injured workers on light duty get better faster.    That  means that the employer can have a policy or rule that injured workers who refuse temporary light duty (and who don't have any FMLA, or vacation or personal time left) can be disciplined, including fired.

In general (and you should  seek individual  legal advice for your circumstances), Nevada employers can and will fire  employees who are working light duty jobs after their job accidents if they have a good reason for firing the employee.  Again, common reasons given by employers pertain to the employee  for not showing up for light duty  work, calling in sick too many times,  and not performing the light duty job.

The present statute allows insurers to deny compensation benefits to injured workers who are fired while working temporary light duty,   if the insurer denies compensation benefits within 70 days after learning about the job termination.  Benefits should only be denied if the injured worker was fired for gross misconduct., but insurers routinely deny benefits for any kind of job termination and bet on the employee not appealing.  

Employees who complain that their injuries prevent them from going to work at all, need  to be aware that their employer is entitled to rely on the  treating physician's progress report . If that report says the patient can work with restrictions, and the employer offers such work, the injured worker won't win any  battles that depend on self-serving statements of his inability to work light duty,  Employers, and hearings and  appeals officer will  rely almost exclusively on the physician progress report. For example, if the progress report doesn't restrict  the number of hours an employee can stand at work, the employer can assume that the employee can stand for his entire shift.  

The injured worker must make sure that the treating doctor is aware of what kind of work the employer is likely to offer so that they injured worker can request  restrictions that make sense. Instead of complaining  to the employer that he cannot do temporary light duty work, the injured worker should quickly return to see his physician to discuss any necessary  additional restrictions.  Meanwhile, the employee should try to do the light duty work.  Not showing up for light duty work may get the employee fired, and it will be a legal fight to get benefits.  

I have had a lot of success in obtaining compensation benefits for employees who are fired during temporary light duty.  Employers and insurers don't always know or follow the law.  However, an injured worker doesn't want to go without a paycheck or a comp check while filing an appeal.  The best course is to show up for the temporary light duty job, get any necessary additional restrictions from your doctor, and to quickly get a free consultation with a lawyer to discuss your particular case. While you still may have to do some kind of temporary light duty eventually, your attorney may be very helpful in guiding you through these problems. 

--Written by

Trabajo Ligero: La Ley De Compensacion Laboral en Nevada

Hay dos tipos de trabajo ligero para trabajadores heridos en Nevada:  El trabajo ligero temporario, y trabajo ligero permanente.  Las reglas son diferentes para cada tipo de trabajo ligero.

Trabajo ligero temporario es trabajo ligero ofrecido por el empleador mientras el trabajador herido todavía está bajo tratamiento con un médico.   Trabajo permanente ligero es un trabajo ofrecido por el empleador después de que el médico que esté a cargo del tratamiento le da de alta al trabajador herido con restricciones de trabajo permanentes al final del caso.

Cada vez el empleado visita al médico que está a cargo de su tratamiento, debe recibir un reporte sobre su progreso  médico (PPR). El médico escribe si el trabajador tiene  restricciones temporarias de trabajo están en la parte de debajo de el reporte de su progreso ósea el PPR. El trabajador herido es responsable de tomar una copia del PPR a su empleador y preguntar si el empleador ofrecerá  trabajo ligero que acomoda esas restricciones. Si no le ofrecen trabajo ligero, el trabajador herido recibe beneficios totales temporarios de incapacidad (TTD) del asegurador.

El empleador puede o no puede querer ofrecerle trabajo temporario o permanente ligero.  Si el trabajo ligero temporario es ofrecido, el empleador debe enviar una confirmación escrita al empleado dentro de 10 días, pero la mayoría de los empleadores no hacen esto. Si el trabajo ligero temporario consiste en el trabajo dentro de la misma clasificación como el empleo antes del accidente, el sueldo por hora del empleado debe ser el mismo. Si el trabajo ligero del trabajo está en una clasificación diferente de trabajo, el empleador puede pagar sólo 80% del sueldo que ganaba antes del accidente.

Las reglas con respecto al trabajo permanente ligero son mucho más estrictas. Una oferta permanente de empleo ligero del deber debe ser por escrito, debe permitir al trabajador herido 7 días para responder, y la intención del empleador debe de ser  ofrecer una posición que sea permanente. El trabajo no debe ser humillante ni debe ser degradante, y debe ser aprobado por el médico a cargo de su  tratamiento. Si el empleador no ofrece un  trabajo permanente ligero dentro de 30 días de recibir una copia del reporte sobre su progreso  médico (PPR) cual describe restricciones permanentes de trabajo para el trabajador, el empleado es referido para rehabilitación vocacional.

More about light duty work

 There are two types of light duty for injured workers in Nevada:  temporary light duty, and permanent light duty. The rules are different for each type of light duty. 

Temporary light duty is light duty work offered by the employer while the injured worker is still undergoing treatment with a doctor. Permanent light duty is a job offered by the employer after the treating physician gives the injured worker final work restrictions.

Each time the employee visits the treating doctor, he should receive a physician progress report (PPR).   The doctor writes what the temporary work restrictions are at the bottom of that PPR. The injured worker is responsible for taking a copy of the PPR to his employer and asking whether the employer will be offering light duty work that accommodates those restrictions. If not, the injured worker receives temporary total disability benefits from the insurer.

The employer may or may not want to offer temporary or permanent light duty work. If temporary light duty work is offered, the employer should send a written confirmation to the employee within 10 days, but most employers don’t do this. If the temporary light duty work consists of work within the same classification as the pre-accident employment, the employee’s hourly wage should remain the same.  If the light duty work is in a different job classification, the employer may pay only 80% of the injured worker’s pre-accident gross wages.

The rules regarding permanent light duty are much stricter. A permanent light duty job offer must be in writing, it must allow the injured worker 7 days to respond, and the employer must intend for the job to be a permanent position. The work must not be demeaning or degrading, and it must be approved by the treating doctor. If the employer does not offer a permanent light duty job within 30 days of receiving a copy of the injured worker’s permanent work restrictions, the employee is referred