Rule VI in a Colorado Worker’s Compensation claim is a rule intended to protect injured workers when brought back to work while still treating and under physical restrictions. Rule VI of the Worker’s Compensation Rules of Procedure requires the employer to determine what an injured worker will be doing if brought back to work before that injured worker can be required to return to work. Under Rule VI not only is the employer of the injured worker required to create a job description but must also include the duties and tasks required of the injured worker. Once this is done the job description must be forwarded to the Authorized Treating Physician who will then determine whether the injured worker can safely perform all the duties and tasks contained therein. Assuming the Authorized Treating Physician approves the job description the job must then be offered to the injured employee by certified mail and must provide a start date, hours and rate of pay.
The purpose of Rule VI is to assure that the employer’s seeking to bring back an injured worker still in the recovery phase of their claim does not put the injured worker in a position that is harmful to the injured worker’s recovery. Prior to the implementation of Rule VI, employers would bring injured workers back to work and put them in situations which could impede their recovery or if the injured worker refused to do certain tasks they could be terminated. The purpose of Rule VI is to avoid the employer having unreasonable expectations of an injured worker’s return to work and forces the employer to make a determination as to whether it is a good decision to bring an injured worker back to work.
If the employer follows the terms of Rule VI an injured worker can rejoin the work force and be protected from further injury as a result of returning to the work force. Insurance carriers do not have to continue to pay temporary disability benefits if Rule VI is followed appropriately to the extent that the injured worker earns a wage in compliance with the modified duty job offered.
If an injured worker is under restrictions and has not reached the status of maximum medical improvement then they should not return to the employer if the employer has not complied with Rule VI. This rule is made to protect the injured worker.