Returning to Work

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Established in 1914 by the state legislature, State Fund is California's most reliable provider of workers' compensation insurance and a vital asset to California businesses. State Fund supports California's entrepreneurial spirit and plays a stabilizing role in the economy by providing fairly priced workers' compensation insurance, helping California employers keep their workplaces safe, and restoring injured workers.

Returning to Work

For many with a workplace injury, the ultimate goal is to return to work and return to their pre-injury income to support themselves and their family. How, when, and if you return to work depends on the nature and severity of the injury.

Below are a few of the common questions we’ve received from injured workers about returning to work.

When can I go back to work?

Once your doctor says you can go back to work in any capacity, you should contact your employer to discuss your return to work.

What if I can’t do the same job?

Depending on the needs of your employer, you may be able to perform a job other than the one you held previously. This allows you to work and heal at the same time. Here are some ways this can happen:

Modified work is when you perform the same job with some modifications to adjust the work for your injury.

Alternative work is an option if your employer has a different job available that you can do without needing the same abilities you had before your injury.

Temporary transitional work is work offered by your employer within your temporary work capabilities that you perform while recovering from your injury. This may include a temporary assignment at a nonprofit organization.

What if my employer doesn’t have work for me?

If your injury persists or your employer isn’t able to give you temporary modified or alternative work, there is another option for you depending on your injury. You could receive some form of Temporary Disability Benefits.

What if my injury is permanent and my employer doesn’t have work for me?

If modified or alternative work are not available on a permanent basis, you could be eligible for the Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit. This benefit comes as a voucher and allows specific financial resources to train for a new and different kind of job based on your capabilities.

Three criteria must be met to qualify for the program. An injured worker must have:

  • Been injured on or after January 1, 2004
  • Sustained a permanent partial disability as a result of that injury
  • Not been offered other work by their employer

For more info, read Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits.

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