Light duty, but a heavy burden? Marketing after a work injury

Following a work accident, many injured workers are required to look for a job once released to light-duty work by the doctor. A release to light-duty work means that you cannot perform your pre-injury job, but your doctor has released you to return to work with restrictions.  Failure to look for work once released to light duty could result in a loss of workers’ compensation benefits.

job applicants in a waiting room

The job search requirement is a difficult burden and one that is fraught with pitfalls. In this post, we will break down all the marketing requirements and explain what should be done.

What is the “marketing” requirement and when is it required?

Marketing is the term used for the mandatory job search required of a worker who is released to light-duty work. This requirement was established by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.

Marketing is required when an injured worker is not under an open wage loss award and is partially disabled.  The partially disabled injured worker must make reasonable and good faith efforts to market their residual work capacity to receive disability benefits

In simple terms, marketing is required when:

  • There is no open wage loss award, and
  • The injured worker is partially disabled.

construction worker edging metal

How do I know if I need to market?

An injured worker should market when:

  • There is no open wage loss Award entered by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.

What is an open wage loss award?

  • An open wage loss award begins on a certain date and has no end date.
  • You do not have an open wage loss Award if:
    • You have a Medical Award only.
    • You have a closed wage loss Award (you were only paid from Date A to Date B with no ongoing payments).


  • The worker is partially disabled from work.

You are a partially disabled injured worker when:

  • Your treating physician has released you to light-duty work, and
  • You are earning less than your pre-injury average weekly wage.

You should continue marketing when:

  • Your employer does not have light-duty work for you, so you are not working.
  • You have not secured new light-duty employment and are not working.
  • You are working light duty for your employer OR have secured new light duty employment, but you are earning less (due to reduced hours or pay).
man in neck brace applying for jobs

Working from home by using laptop. Man with crutches is indoors. Having injuries.

What is a good faith marketing effort?

  • Contact your pre-injury employer to see if they have light-duty work (if applicable)
  • Register with the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC)
  • Contact at least FIVE (5) prospective employers a week that
    • You reasonably believe may have work available/work that you could perform, and
    • The available work is within your light-duty restrictions

How do I prove a good-faith marketing effort?

Keep excellent records of at least FIVE (5) required weekly contacts. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has a preferred weekly log you can use

  1. Date prospective employer was contacted
  2. The Company name, address, and person you spoke with
  3. The job title for which you applied/contacted the company about
  4. The outcome of the contact and if there was an open position
  5. The method of contact (in person, internet, phone)
  6. ALL documentation corroborating your marketing effort

woman handing a resume over for reading

Why do I have to market?

It is extremely important that you market. If you cannot show the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission that you made reasonable and good faith efforts to market your residual capacity, it is unlikely that you will be awarded wage loss benefits.

How does the Commission determine a good-faith effort to market?

When determining the validity/sufficiency of your marketing efforts, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission considers the following:

  • The nature and extent of your disability
  • Your training, age, experience, education
  • The nature and extent of job search
  • The availability of suitable jobs available in your area considering restrictions

Marketing under the VA Workers’ Compensation Act is a tricky and complicated process. One that is designed to trip up an unsuspecting injured worker. If you have suffered a work injury, call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Allen and Allen and we can help! For a free case evaluation, call 866-388-1307 today.