CSD Pool Update

How Does Return-to-Work Modified Duty Impact a WC Claim?

When an injured employee is released by their authorized treating physician into what’s known as “return-to-work modified duty,” employers are able to bring an employee back to work by following the restrictions set by the treating physician.

The offer of return to work can be an informal, verbal modified duty job offer to the employee. If the offer is at the same rate of pay that the employee normally earns, then there will not be any lost time wages owed. If the offer is at a lower wage, then partial benefits may be owed to the employee. Once the employee returns to work, employers should notify their WC adjuster that the employee is working modified duty at full or reduced wages.

But what if the employee refuses to cooperate with an informal modified duty job offer? At that point, employers should offer a formal return-to-work modified duty letter, known as a Rule 6 Letter. This letter will provide the employee with the structure for returning to modified duty. If any questions come up, be sure to reach out to your dedicated Sedgwick adjuster.

When completing a formal return-to-work modified duty letter, follow these steps below.

Step 1: Complete the cover letter to authorized treating physician.

Step 2: Complete the letter to authorized treating physician with the proposed modified duties. Please note when sending the letter to the authorized treating physician, it must also be sent to the employee (and claimant attorney if represented) at the same time and in the same manner.

Step 3: Upon receipt of the signed letter from the authorized treating physician, complete the letter to the employee regarding the modified duty job offer.

Step 4: Complete the modified duty packet for the employee. This should include the signed letter from the authorized treating physician, return to work status form and the modified duty letter to the employee.

Step 5: If hand delivering the modified duty letter to the employee, have the employee sign the certificate of receipt. If mailing, send the packet certified and regular mail with a certificate of service.

Step 6: Provide your WC adjuster a copy of the signed certificate of receipt.

If modified duty work is not available, notify the designated WC adjuster. The adjuster can review for lost time wages that may be owed to the employee. For salary continuation employers, the designated adjuster will still need to know about any lost time due to state forms they need to file along with timely reimbursement.

By offering employees a return-to-work modified duty position, the benefits are two-fold: a reduction of the cost of the WC claim as well as keeping employees engaged with their daily work routine.

Access our Rule 6 Return-to-Work Modified Duty Packet, or contact info@csdpool.org with any questions of how to complete the forms.

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