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Employee rights: Accept or reject job offer while recovering?

Victims of on-the-job injuries in San Diego might not understand how California workers' compensation benefits work if their employers offer them jobs while they are recovering. A doctor might order restricted duties, and if an employer makes such an offer, it must be for a job that meets the restrictions set out in a doctor's report. If that is the case, employee rights allow the worker to accept or reject the offer within a predetermined time limit.

The employer can offer a worker his or her old job, at the same wage level as before the accident, and with the same benefits as enjoyed at the time of the injury. Furthermore, such a job must be located within an acceptable commuting distance from the worker's residence. However, if the nature of the injuries prevents a worker from doing the same job as before, the employer has other options.

Modified work can be offered, in compliance with the doctor's orders about restrictions. Remuneration must be no less than 85 percent of previously received wages and benefits, and it must last for a minimum of 12 months. The same rules apply if the employer offers alternative work to an employee who cannot return to a similar job as he or she had before. In all these instances, accepting the job offer will remove the worker's eligibility for supplemental job displacement benefits. These come as vouchers to pay for vocational rehabilitation to retrain or enhance existing skills that will accommodate the injured worker's disabilities.

Some California workers in San Diego choose to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to make sure their employee rights are not violated. A lawyer can explain the pros and cons of the different options, and make sure that any job offers comply with the doctor's note of restrictions. An attorney can also make sure that deadlines are not missed, and that the wage-package meets the requirements.

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