top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Is Light Duty Considered Lost Time? Dallas Workers' Compensation Laws

After many days away from work, an injured or ill employee may be feeling eager to return to his or her regular job. The employer may also want the employee back performing routine job functions as soon as possible.

However, depending on the severity of the work-related injury, the doctor may advise the employee to only do light-duty work for a certain period. This may drastically change an employee's routine job functions.

If the employee was receiving workers' compensation benefits, they may be anxious to know how light duty work will affect these benefits as well as their salary. Each situation is different, and an injured employee must decide which option is best for them.

At times, what the employer offers and what the employee thinks is fair may be very different. In such cases, the employee must approach an experienced attorney to make sure their rights are respected. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is ready to go to war and make sure employees receive workers' compensation benefits after a work-related injury. They can with other questions like, "What are the elements of a slip and fall in Texas?"

What Is Light Duty Work?

What Is Light Duty Work?

Light duty work restrictions mean that an employee's routine functions will be altered by the employer to suit the doctor's recommendations and according to the medical treatment the worker is receiving.

This would mean that when an employee returns to his or her job, they will not be able to immediately resume their normally assigned work shift. The employee will be assigned lighter work that will not aggravate the work injury.

Neither the employer nor the employee must disregard the advice of the doctor and try to make the worker return to work before they have fully healed. Being re-injured because of refusal to limit the employee to light-duty jobs will only cause complications in the workers' compensation benefits.

According to the laws that govern workers' compensation in Dallas, Texas, light duty refers to any duties that are physically, mentally, and emotionally less demanding than the original work. In some cases, it can be regarded as a restricted work activity.

When an injury or illness involves restricted work activity or light duty, the injured or ill employee's job may include less-demanding tasks, such as:

  • Monitoring and evaluating

  • Sedentary desk work

  • Job supervisor duties

  • Administrative tasks

  • Taking inventory

Is Light Duty Considered Lost Time in Dallas, Texas?

No, light duty is not necessarily considered time off but rather restricted work. Unlike spending days away from work receiving medical treatment, the employee will be able to return to work and perform some tasks that are not as strenuous as those the employee regularly performs.

At times, injured employees will still be able to obtain medical treatment while performing light duty or restricted work. If the situation is only temporary, then it is unlikely to cause any major problems.

However, if the injury is severe enough to cause permanent disability, both parties involved will have to sit down and decide how best to proceed. In such a case, the employee should have Dallas workers comp attorneys around so that their rights are not infringed.

How Does Light Duty Work Affect Workers' Compensation Benefits?

Light duty work restrictions can affect the amount that an employee is receiving from workers' compensation benefits. It all depends on how the work will affect the person's salary. Consider the following:

  • When switching to light duty means the employee is now receiving more money than they did before getting injured, they will no longer be eligible for workers' compensation.

  • Light duty work that pays less money than the previous job entitles the injured or ill employee to receive partial disability benefits from their workers' compensation.

In most cases, if the light duty pays less money than the employee's original salary, the employer will calculate a new salary based on the restricted or transferred days rate to make sure that the worker's rights are not infringed.

Employees returning to work but performing light duty could be entitled to receive the same salary as before, even if they are performing easier tasks. This usually differs from one state to another.

The situation is slightly different for employees who get paid on an hourly basis. Performing light-duty work may mean that they only get paid for the work they can do. It is best for the injured party to consult a lawyer before accepting light-duty jobs that may have a huge impact on their salary.

Is Light Duty After a Work-related Injury Compulsory?

It is not always the case that when an injured employee returns to a job after days away from work, they have to be placed under light-duty restricted work. If the doctor has not specifically recommended work restrictions, the employee has no right to forcibly place a worker under light duty with a reduced salary.

In cases involving days of restricted work, as advised by the doctor, once the period of light duty work is completed, the employer cannot prevent the worker from returning to their regular job. Unless the worker has been away from the job for many years due to the injury, they have a right to be reinstated as soon as they are cleared by a licensed healthcare professional.

Refusing Light Duty Work

Refusing Light Duty Work

If a doctor has not recommended light-duty work as part of the medical treatment that the injured employees require, they have a right to refuse to be placed under any work restrictions.

On the other hand, if a licensed health care professional says the employee is fit enough to return to regular duties but they refuse to do so, this can result in them losing their workers' compensation and medical benefits.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Can Help

In any workers' comp case involving restricted work, it is best to have a good lawyer to defend the rights of the employee. There are many factors to consider before accepting a partial work shift. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also provide insight on what to do if you're injured at work by another employee.

Often, the employer and their insurance company will prioritize what is best for them rather than the needs of the worker.

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will make sure that, if a case involves restricted work, any light-duty recommendation is the best option for its client. Injured workers who have been offered light duty can contact the law firm at +1 214-253-4639 and request a free consultation.


bottom of page