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Missouri Sunset

Can my employer force me to return to work after a workplace injury?

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Posted on February 25, 2023

Employers do not like to pay workers’ compensation benefits, but it is a law when you suffer an injury at work. Thanks to a benefit plan, you receive financial help for the medical care and treatment needed to recover from the injury. These benefits also replace lost wages due to the injury.

Under Missouri law for injured workers, an employer does not have to reinstate you once you are on workers’ compensation leave. This makes a difference when determining how to approach your employment following your injury.

Timeline for returning to work

It is common to feel nervous about returning to work after an accident. You may wonder about the possibility of re-injuring yourself or you may not feel strong enough. It is possible that your employer may ask you to return to work before you feel ready, but the employer cannot force you to return if you are still waiting on a doctor to release you. If this happens, you can speak with your doctor about a timeline for your release and convey the information to your employer.

Allowances for returning to work

It is in your best interest to return to work as soon as you are physically able, but not at the risk of jeopardizing your health or your ability to meet performance expectations. However, your employer should provide support when you return as the law requires employers to provide training and rehabilitation services if you decide to return.

Each employer handles workers’ comp cases differently, and you may work for an accommodating and caring employer who works with you to get back on your feet. If this is not the case, it is important to know your legal allowances for recovery and returning to work.