What Is the 52-Week Rule Compensation?
Business owners have various obligations. Apart from running their businesses, employers are responsible for the health and safety of all their workers. They are also obliged to provide a safe working environment for their team.
Having suitable measures in place eliminates risk and prevents work-related injuries. However, injuries are inevitable. If a worker is injured while at work, the business owner must be aware of obligations, including the 52-week rule compensation.
This benefits the employer and employee by expediting the process of returning to work. It also reduces the need to get extra stuff and avoids loss in productivity. It's vital to understand what the 52-week rule is and its impact on you and your business.
Defining the 52-Week Rule Compensation
An employer must employ a worker after an injury at work. The employment must be in line with the pre-injury role for 52 weeks.
Simply put, an employer can't terminate a worker who gets injured on the job. The employer must make reasonable means for the employee to continue working to the best of their ability for about a year.
Providing Reasonable Employment
An employee may not continue working to their total capacity after getting an injury at work. He must see a doctor to evaluate their condition and give recommendations highlighted in the Certificate of Capacity.
If the doctor recommends the employee avoid particular work, the employer must provide suitable work for them in their current condition. The employee may require reduced work hours, be unable to complete some tasks, or need special tools to continue working.
Furthermore, the employer must avail suitable means for the injured employee to continue working to their capacity without hindering recovery. After full recovery, the employer must provide pre-injury roles to the worker. This ensures that the employee goes back to their former job position. It is also very important to know how you prove cumulative trauma.
What Is the Employer Obligation Period?
The employer's obligation lasts 52 weeks but a lot can happen during this period at different intervals, including:
The employer gives the injured worker a Certificate of Capacity
The worker receives a notification about receiving the Certificate of Capacity
Date when the business owner receives a notice for weekly compensation payments from the employee
When the business owner notices that the employee has submitted a claim for weekly compensation.
The 52 weeks may not be consecutive since the employee may be unable to work because of the injury. Exclusions during the period include:
The period when the worker can perform his duties
When the claim is rejected and awaits court settlement
A period when the safety manager has set a claim decision awaiting recommendation
When weekly payments are revoked
When a return to work improvement notice is issued
What is highlighted above doesn't count towards the 52 weeks, but the employer is obliged to give the worker appropriate employment. Other labor and discrimination laws may be applicable. The 52-week period boosts the return to work process, enhances worker recovery, and guarantees business continuity.
Reasonable Work Adjustments for the Employer
The employer must adjust work conditions to ensure that the injured worker continues the roles highlighted in their job description. However, the employer must determine whether the worker can take on new roles or new tasks in line with the pre-injury role.
It may be reasonable to transfer the worker to another department even when it requires switching roles with another worker who doesn't have an injury.
Employer’s Obligations the 52 Weeks Elapse
Employers can't automatically terminate the worker after the 52 weeks elapse. The employee can use other labor and discrimination laws to sue the employer.
Moreover, the employer must continue offering suitable employment to the worker if they have the capacity. It boosts employee morale which boosts productivity and avoids downtime.
When navigating through the 52-week rule compensation in Des Moines, Iowa, don't hesitate to get in touch with Tom Fowler Law. You will get access to valuable information regarding this period from a workman's compensation attorney in Des Moines with a lot of experience in the industry.
Our family-owned law firm has been helping business owners and employers to encourage harmony in the work environment to the benefit of everyone.