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Supplemental Job Displacement vs. Alternative and Modified Work

Following a work accident, injury victims are generally advised against returning to work until they have reached maximum medical improvement. Awaiting healing allows an injured employee to return to work when they are truly ready and allows them to see the full damages caused by their injury before collecting a workers’ compensation award. An employee’s ability to return to work after an injury will be evaluated and determined by their doctor.

In some cases, injured employees are offered other options for work following an injury that differ from going back to their old job. These different work options can serve as a way for an injured employee to ease back into working life following an injury or could be a permanent option for an employee who is now living with a long-term condition. The types of work that are typically offered to injured employees usually fall into the categories of supplemental job displacement, alternative work, or modified work.

What is Alternative Work?

If alternative work is offered to an injured employee, they can continue working at the same company but in a different role that is more suitable to their current condition. Employees who are offered an alternative work position may have their wages reduced. In California, employees in alternative work positions must be paid at least 85% of their pre-injury wages, according to state law.

What is Modified Work?

Modified work allows injured employees to return to their previous role, but with some changes. A worker who continues fulfilling their pre-injury job responsibilities in a modified setting may require the use of different equipment or could have their duties adjusted to account for their physical limitations. Modified work employees in California also must receive a minimum of 85% of their pre-injury wage rate.

What is Supplemental Job Displacement?

Supplemental job displacement is offered to injured employees who were not offered alternative or modified work options, or are otherwise not eligible for those programs. Supplemental job displacement programs allow workers to pursue a new career path through training. Workers who are eligible for supplemental job displacement can receive sponsorship for courses that teach new job skills or provide a certification.

The attorneys of Smolich and Smolich can guide you through your workers’ compensation claim. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers.

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