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Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers

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Returning to work, part 2: is part-time work possible?

Sigmund Freud once said that love and work provide twin pillars for human happiness. Few would deny that having a person or people to love and meaningful work to perform are extremely important for emotional wellbeing.

In this sense, you may be feeling very hopeful about returning to work after an injury. After all, the work ethic is a powerful motivator for most of us.

It is also quite possible, however, that you may be feeling apprehensive about your return. As we noted in our April 23 post, you may be under pressure from your employer to return for modified or “light duty” work – even if you are unsure you can do that given your current medical condition.

It is also possible that you will face retaliation by your employer for pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. This could take the form of failing to honor medical restrictions on your work or uncalled-for scrutiny of your job performance.

Keep in mind, if you face this, that such retaliation is illegal.

What about part-time work when you go back? Injured workers sometimes wonder whether it is possible to go back to work part time while they are still receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

The answer in Colorado is a qualified yes. You should be eligible for temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits.

But these TPD benefits are designed to continue only until you have reached the point known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). As we noted in our April 21 post, MMI determinations are often very important in work comp cases.

Source: Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, Division of Workers’ Compensation, “Employee’s Guide,” Accessed April 25, 2014

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