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Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC)

Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

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Return to Work, Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit and Vocational Rehabilitation

Return to work is one of the most important aspects of workers' compensation after medical treatment and indemnity compensation are considered. A work injury can interrupt routines and adversely affect financial and personal well-being.

Employees injured on or after Jan. 1, 2004, who are permanently unable to do their usual job and whose employer does not offer other work may qualify for the supplemental job displacement benefit (SJDB). The benefit comes in the form of a non-transferable voucher that can be used to pay for educational retraining or skill enhancement, or both, at state-approved or state-accredited schools. The voucher covers school tuition, fees, books and expenses required by the school for training. For additional information on this benefit: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/sjdb.html.

According to the RAND Corporation, both employers and injured workers benefit when employees return to work quickly following a workplace injury: Injured workers recover from their injuries faster and suffer less wage loss and employers maintain the value of the investment they've made in their employees by bringing them back to the job as soon as medically possible.


  • Identifying Permanently Disabled Workers with Disproportionate Earnings Losses for Supplemental Payments, RAND, February 2014 version
  • Workers' Compensation Reform and Return to Work: The California Experience, RAND, 2011 Full Document acrobat small logo version Summary only version
  • The Frequency, Severity, and Economic Consequences of Musculoskeletal Injuries to Firefighters in California, RAND, 2010 acrobat small logo version
  • How Effective are Employer Return to Work Programs? RAND, February 2010 acrobat small logo version
  • Report on the Return-To-Work Program Established in Labor Code Section 139.48 acrobat small logo version
  • Best Practices in Returning an Injured Employee to Work: Factsheet for Employers, February 2010 acrobat small logo version
  • Helping Injured Employees Return to Work: Practical Guidance Under Workers’ Compensation and Disability Rights Laws in California, February 2010 acrobat small logo version
  • Recommendations for the Return-to-Work Program Established in Labor Code Section 139.48 acrobat small logo version
  • Summary of December 9, 2008 Return-to-Work/FEHA/ADA Advisory Group Meeting acrobat small logo version word image version
  • AB 1987 and return-to-work incentives and alternatives, April 2006 acrobat small logo version ** PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE ** version
  • Return-to-Work Roundtable, Summary of November 17, 2006, CHSWC, April 27, 2007 acrobat small logo version Acrobat image version
  • California Research Colloquium on Workers’ Compensation Medical Benefit Delivery and Return to Work, RAND, 2006 Acrobat image version
Review of literature on 'modified work'

Does modified work facilitate return to work for temporarily or permanently disabled workers?, August 1997
Project description
Status: completed

Predictors and measures of return to work

Determinants of return-to-work and duration of disability after work-related injury or illness: Developing a research agenda, April 2001 Acrobat image
Project description
Status: completed

Task force on alternative or modified work in the construction industry

Carve-outs in workers' compensation: an analysis of experience in the California construction industry, September1999
Project description
Status: completed

Policies and strategies to help injured workers return to sustained employment

Return-to-Work in California: Listening to Stakeholders' Voice, July 2001
Project description
Status: completed

Primary treating physician effectiveness in RTW after low back injuries

Project description
Status: in process

Best practices encouraging return-to-work

Project description
Status: in process

Vocational rehabilitation study

Vocational rehabilitation reform evaluation, March 2000 Acrobat image

Vocational rehabilitation benefit: An analysis of costs, characteristics, and the impact of the 1993 reforms, August 1997
Project description
Status: completed

Revised December 21, 2012