Work Injuries and Back to Work Law In Michigan

Back to Work, Light Duty and Favored Duty Law In Michigan

Today, I’d like to talk about work injuries and going back to work law in Michigan. We’ll talk about going back to work, light duty or what we call favored work in this article. If you’re hurt on the job and your doctor has you on restrictions or light duty, the employer has two choices. Let you stay home and heal or take you back to work and offer you a legitimate job within the doctor’s restrictions and recommendations. 


If You’re Off More Than Fourteen Days – You’re Entitled To Lost Wages

Now, if your employer sends you home, you have to be off work for more than seven days in order to be entitled to wage loss. If you are off work for more than fourteen days, they have to pay you back to day one. A lot of employers will try to get you back to work, certainly within the fourteen days, but even within the seven, so they don’t have to pay wage loss. They’ll offer you a job and say it’s within the restrictions, and sometimes it isn’t.


You Should Try Light Work If It’s Offered By Your Employer

If they offer you a legitimate job that is within your doctor’s restrictions, you are required to take the job or at least try it. If the job does turn out to be too painful, what you want to do is go back and report to your doctor and get your restrictions amended, or have the doctor take you off entirely, but at least try the job. Otherwise, if you don’t even try the job, the employer is going to be in a position better than you to argue that you didn’t even try, it was within the doctor’s restrictions, and you don’t get any wage loss. The most important thing to do is clarify the restrictions with your physician – just what they are and are not. 

Consult Your Doctor If Your Employer Asks You To Do Too Much

Obviously, if the employer wants you to lift fifty pounds and your restriction is five, you have the right to refuse that. But if it’s five-point-five pounds, your doctor has you on five-pound restrictions, well, you may want to at least see if you can do it or not – as long as you don’t jeopardize further injury, according to the doctor’s opinions.

So anytime you get hurt, be aware that a lot of employer’s primary goal is to get you back to work – favored work, light duty work – it has many terms. But they’ll do anything they can to avoid having you off more than two weeks, so they don’t have to pay wage loss. 

If you need time off to heal, just have the doctor take you off entirely and that’s the first and best way to protect yourself. If you have any questions on this, call me at (989) 725-8118.

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