Modified Duty, Wage Loss, and Temporary Disability

Updated: August 13, 2022


Workers' Compensation | Modified Duty, Wage Loss, and Temporary Disability

When you are injured on the job, you may fall into several categories of work status and disability payments.

This is determined by what work restrictions or work limitations your doctor feels you need while you are treating for your injury.

Temporary Disability | Totally Off Work

If your work restrictions do not allow you to do your current job, and they cannot find a temporary job or position, then most of the time the doctor will take you totally off work, and the insurance company will pay you 2/3 of your average weekly earnings. This benefit is called temporary disability.

The other situation when temporary disability is paid is when your doctor doesn't provide work restrictions and just wants you completely off work for medical reasons.

Temporary Disability | Modified Duty

If you work modified duty which causes a reduction in income either by a reduction of hours or wages by the modified job, then the insurance company will pay wage loss.

Wage loss is calculated by taking the difference in wages or hours worked, then taking the difference and multiplying by 2/3 of your average weekly earnings.

What ends up happening is you get a check from your employer as wages as you did in the past plus a check from the insurance company to make the difference in wage loss.

An example of this situation is a worker who works 60 hours a week in his/her normal job and then is put on modified duty. The modified duty only provides 40 hours per week. You would be entitled 2/3 of your average weekly earnings. Your average would be based on your 60 hours. So, if your modified duty is 40 hours, then you would be entitled to wage loss for the difference.

Full Modified Duty

If your work restrictions conflict with your regular job duties, then some employers will pay you the same wages and provide the same hours while accommodating your work restrictions.

In this case, you will be paid by your employer as you always would and you would not receive any money from the insurance company. This would only occur if you are being paid the same wages and provided the same number of hours you normally work.


Keep in mind that your doctor ultimately has control over your treatment and your work status. If you feel that your work restrictions are inadequate, then you need to talk to your treating doctor and explain why your work restrictions are inadequate and describe how those activities are causing you pain and worsening.

Improper or understated work restrictions can cause a lot of problems in workers' compensation cases. Getting these problems "straightened out" often requires a workers' compensation attorney.If feel you shouldn't be working, aren't getting compensated appropriately, or have been on modified duty or temporary disability for a significant period of time, then you should contact a workers' compensation attorney.