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Workman's comp and leave of absence

Lake Villa, IL |

I am a part time employee that got injured at work. I have been out 2 weeks now with sciatica after a lower back injury. My doctor told me that he will release me back to work in a few weeks but probably with light duty status. I was wondering if I can apply for a leave of absence for about 6 months through my workman's comp instead of going back on light duty? Is it common for workmans comp to allow this or are there strict rules about taking a leave of absence through workmans comp.

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Attorney answers 4


If you were a Federal Employee when you were injured, and your doctor releases you for light duty, any leave without pay would be granted by the Employing Ageny, not the OWCP.

You should talk to a local attorney or a union steward, because you can, perhaps, stay on compensation for lost wages if your employing agency does not provide a written job offer that is approved by a physician.


Generally, if you are assigned to light duty, you must report to light duty. Sometimes, competing physician reports will have a worker off work or on work or on light duty and this dispute must be resolved before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission.

In your case, however, as a part-timer, I would be shocked if you had the option of a leave. I would consult with a local lawyer who handles employment law and with a lawyer handling workers' comp cases before doing anything. Keep in mind, though, that you could very well lose your job by failing to perform the light duty work to which you were assigned.

Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
Chicago, IL

This answer is provided for informational and advertising purpose and is intended not to be construed as legal advice. Further, please note that this practitioner is licensed in the State of Illinois and only answers questions involving incidents and the law of that jurisdiction.


There is no such thing as a leave of absence under Workers' Compentation in Illinois. If you are part-time, you do not qualify for an FMLA leave (which would be limited to 12 weeks). If your treating physician releases you to light duty AND your employer has light duty work WITHIN YOUR RESTRICTIONS, you MUST accept the work or your TTD/TPD benefits will terminate. If you have no contract, your employer has a right to fire you. If you had 2 or more jobs when you were injured AND your employer knew about them, your TTD / TPD benefits are based on the total of your earnings fron all jobs. You really should meet with an experienced WC attorney before you make any decisions. Good luck.

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You can go out for 1/2 that time through the Famiky Medical & Leave Act (FMLA).

As for a leave of absence, I suggest you look at your employee handbook and also speak with your supervisor.

Unfortunately however there is no provision which I am aware of that allows an injured worker thru a work com claim to claim a leave of absence when they've been returned to work on light duty.

Good luck.


Michael Rott

Please be advised that the advice provided does not create any attorney/client relationship; that due to the various state laws that the information provided is a general overview of work comp law, which might not be applicable to you, based upon the laws of your state. We will not file anything on your behalf nor protect any statute of limitations which might arise and recommend that you IMMEDIATELY consult legal counsel for advice.