Workers’ compensation benefits in California are an integral part of worker rights. When a worker is injured on the job, suffers a condition or becomes ill from the work they do, workers’ compensation can provide for medical care, lost wages and more so they can focus on improving. Knowing what to do if the employer offers work and what the parameters are based on the workers’ compensation case is imperative.

The claims administrator in the workers’ compensation case will send a letter to the worker saying that there is work available. The employer could offer one of the following: regular work; modified work; and alternative work. Regular work is the same job the person did before. It should last for at least 12 months and pay the same amount the worker earned before they were injured. It must be a reasonable distance from where the person lived at the time of the injury.

Modified work is essentially the same work the person did before with some changes to accommodate the person based on their injury or condition. If the treating physician says the person cannot get back to their old job, the employer will be encouraged to make an offer of modified work in lieu of supplemental job displacement benefits. The job must fit into the worker’s restrictions, last for a minimum of 12 months, pay a minimum of 85 percent of what the person got before the injury, and be a reasonable commute from the residence at the time of the injury.

Alternative work is a completely different job from before, but with the same employer. The treating physician might state that the person cannot get back to the old job. If that is the case, the employer is encouraged to find new work for the employee. It must last at least 12 months, pay the worker 85 percent of what they earned before, and be within a reasonable commute. With modified or alternative work, the person must accept the offer within 30 days or it could be withdrawn.

After a worker has been forced off the job due to an injury or illness and is getting workers’ compensation benefits, the employer might make an offer to get back to work. There are certain criteria for this offer and requirements based on the law. If there is any confusion or an issue with being offered work after getting workers’ compensation, having legal assistance is a key part of settling the issue and protecting the worker’s rights.