When you are injured at work, your treating physician gives you a physician’s progress report (PPR) or a work activity report. These reports inform you, your workers’ compensation adjuster, and your employer of any work restrictions you may have. The PPR will guide your light duty job offer.
On the PPR there is a place towards the bottom of the page where the workers’ compensation doctor states whether you are released to “full duty/no restrictions,” “Temporarily Totally Disabled,” or “released to restricted/modified duty.” Temporarily totally disabled means that the doctor determined you can not return to work in any capacity for a period of time. If the doctor releases you to restricted or modified duty, he will then answer the question below as to whether the restrictions are permanent or temporary. The doctor next fills out the following portion describing what activities you are restricted from doing. The Division of Industrial Relations has a D-39 form, which doctors can use, but often doctors have their own similar versions of the form.
Your workers’ compensation doctor should give you a copy of the PPR after every visit. The doctor will also send a copy to the workers’ compensation insurance company. You are required to inform your employer of any work restrictions, changes in work restrictions, placement on temporary total disability, or releases to full duty. Once your employer is informed of your work restrictions, they must determine whether they can offer you a light duty position, that complies with the prescribed work restrictions. If your employer has no light duty work or positions available, then you are considered temporarily totally disabled and the workers’ compensation insurance company must start paying you benefits at 66 and 2/3% of your pay every two weeks.
If your employer does have a light duty position available, then NAC 616C.583 states they must present you with a light duty job offer in writing. Make sure your light duty job offer includes: (1) the net wage you will be paid; (2) the hours you will be required to work; (3) a description of the physical requirements of the position; (4) a description of the job duties; (5) any fringe benefits of the employment—for example health insurance, a company car, bonuses, etc.; and (6) the location of employment. If your restrictions are permanent and your employer cannot offer you light duty or offer you light duty but the actual position is not what was written in the light duty job offer, then the workers’ compensation insurer must commence vocational rehabilitation services.
For injured workers’ that have just temporary restrictions your employer does not need to conform their light duty job offer with the first five requirements, if: (1) the light duty is immediately available, (2) compatible with the physical limitations prescribed by your doctor, and (3) is substantially similar in terms of the location and the working hours to the position that the injured employee held at the time of the injury. Note that if your restrictions were temporary and then become permanent then your employer must comply with all of the more detailed requirements of NAC 616C.583 mentioned in the previous paragraph.