What happens if the injured employee is released to return to work on light duty, but light duty is not available?

Following a work related injury, during the course of treatment, the treating physician may determine an injured employee can return to work on “light duty.” The employee should get a detailed description of work restrictions from the doctor to provide the employer.  If the employer can provide work within those restrictions, it should do so. Typically, the sooner an injured worker returns to work, the better the outcome for everyone.

If the employee is paid a lesser pay or is restricted to fewer hours because of the light duty, the employee is entitled to "temporary partial disability" benefits.  These benefits are figured at 2/3 (66.667%) of the difference between the light duty wages and full duty wages.


An Employee was earning $300.00 per week before being injured. The same Employee is earning $200.00 per week while on light duty. $300.00 minus $200.00 equals $100.00 difference in pay due to the light duty restrictions. 2/3 (or 66%) of $100.00 equals $66.66. Therefore, the Employee will earn $200.00 in wages and receive $66.66 in workers' compensation temporary partial disability benefits.

If the employer is unable to meet the restrictions provided by the treating physician, the injured employee will remain off work and his/her disability benefits will continue.

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