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California employers are encouraged to offer workers unable to perform their old jobs modified or alternative work. Chico workers’ comp attorney explains.

Many medical professionals feel that returning to work as soon as it is safe for you to do so will help significantly in your recovery process—physically, emotionally, and financially.

A worker who has been injured on the job won’t be able to determine independently if he or she is ready to return to work. Typically, there are a number of people involved in the process, including:

  • Your treating physician
  • Management at your workplace
  • The claims administrator


Each of these professionals will have a different insight into what will be necessary for you to return to work. The management at your workplace, for example, can’t understand the full impact of your injury-related physical limitations; your doctor, on the other hand, won’t have a full picture of capacity needed to perform your previous or a different job with your employer.

Modified or Alternative Work

If your doctor determines that you are no longer able to perform the job you had before a Chico workplace injury, you may have other options. California workers’ compensation laws encourages your employer to offer you alternative or modified work instead of supplemental job displacement or vocational rehabilitation benefits. In fact, if your employer opts out of offering you different work, they’re required to increase your permanent disability compensation and benefits by 15%.

Unfortunately, the other side of that coin is that if your employer does offer you a modified or alternative job that meets California requirements, your permanent disability compensation and benefits will automatically decrease by 15%—whether or not you accept the offer.

Requirements for Modified or Alternative Work

Alternative or modified work must meet your work restrictions. It should be work that you are able to safely perform in spite of permanent partial disability. Other requirements for a viable offer of different work from your employer include:

  • It must last 12 months or longer.
  • It must pay at least 85% of wages and other compensation you were receiving at the time of your injury.
  • It must be located within reasonable commuting distance of your residence at the time of your injury.


If you have any concerns about a job offered by your employer after you were awarded permanent partial disability, consider speaking with a skilled Chico workers’ injury attorney today. Fill out the online form or call 888-761-7383 to learn more. Be sure to order our free guidebook, The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual.

Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group