THE WHY OF LIGHT OR MODIFIED DUTY
Yes, if your employee is injured you actually have the choice of providing, or not providing a light duty assignment for the worker.
Myth: That you can avoid providing a light duty assignment with hopes that the employee will gladly go home having no income and will joyfully sit around watching TV while being perfectly happy.
Fact: If you do this the employee will unhappily have no income, and see from TV that they have rights to an income if they would just call the lawyer in the ad.
As a result of your understandable instinctive reaction to avoiding light duty, you are seen by the system as being indifferent to your employee' needs for survival as in rent and food, so when the lawyer gets into it you will be punished at a rate of $3 payback for every $1 paid to the employee by Work Comp up to his weekly entitlement and that can continue on your nickel for over 6 years. Here is how you pay-the-money-piper for being indifferent to your employee and allowing the system to do what you are not willing to do. In the end, your reasons for avoiding light duty do not matter since the ability of the system, which holds the gun to your head, is limitless and indifferent to your concerns.
Remember, whether the reported employee injury is right or wrong, just or unjust, valid or fraudulent, sincere or bogus, real or contrived, genuine or faked - it is YOU who will pay no matter what is proven or revealed later since you will not likely have the needed paper trail to support your suspicion(s) and without a paper trail you have nothing. However, light duty will give you a position of strength or one that otherwise would be forfeited with little chance of recovery.
So, ALWAYS HAVE LIGHT DUTY. When you do, you greatly mitigate your cost over time keeping the employee in the working-loop so they don't feel isolated or highly vulnerable financially. In the end the cost to you is actually less not more and the benefits of full duty to the employee can be the main reason to get well.
Summary: You cannot allow the use of your business logic being that of - earning what you work for - to outweigh the systems mandated control at the point of a gun. It is naïve to think you will succeed at saving money when the exchange rate is $3 paid back by you for every $1 spent in work comp benefits to the employee.
SUMMARY: Don't be penny wise and pound foolish on a subject that by design is not intended to be your friend. But, you can make it your friend by doing the right thing at the outset. Light duty can be structured to flush out that duck if you work it smart and work it as the system allows. We can help you do that!
REMEMBER: Not having a light duty policy is tantamount to being in a small boat two hundred feet from Niagara Falls with no motor and no oars.