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Returning to work after a workplace injury: What you need to know

After an injury, one issue you might have is deciding if and when it's the right time to return to work. If you've suffered any kind of disability, even temporary, you might not be able to return to the work you used to do.

Since you're receiving workers' compensation, there is some good news for you. Workers' compensation comes with benefits that allow you to train for a new position or to learn skills that help you get back to work, even when you're dealing with a disability.

What should you know about returning to work after an injury?

The first thing is that your employer does not, technically, have to hold your exact position open for you based on New York's laws. Many do, but it's not a requirement. Instead, they typically hold a position, just not necessarily the one you had in the past. It makes sense, since it might be difficult for a business to run if one important worker's position is left open for too long.

When you return to work, you may still have days where you can't come because of your work-related illness. If that happens, you are still entitled to intermittent lost time payments for the times when you cannot work.

With workers' compensation, you do have the benefit of vocational assistance. If you have a partial disability and need assistance to return to the same position you had before, it's okay to speak up and let your employer know. Simple changes, like being able to sit down for a period of time or having a helpful tool on hand could be all that's needed to make your job something you can do again.

If you do need rehabilitation, then you can seek it through workers' compensation. You can be sent to a job placement or training agency, which helps you train for the position you're interested in. Social workers can help you cope with your injuries and handle interview questions about gaps in employment. Overall, there are many benefits to workers' compensation, and one is that it's able to help you get a job or get your job back if you need or want to return to work in the future.

There are public agencies and workers' compensation agencies that apply vocational assistance. If you have questions, feel free to reach out and make sure you fully understand all the benefits you're entitled to.

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