Montana Title 39. Labor § 39-71-712. Temporary partial disability benefits

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5), if prior to maximum healing an injured worker has a physical restriction and is approved to return to a modified or alternative employment that the worker is able and qualified to perform and the worker suffers an actual wage loss as a result of a temporary work restriction, the worker qualifies for temporary partial disability benefits.

(2) An insurer's liability for temporary partial disability must be the difference between the injured worker's average weekly wage received at the time of the injury, subject to a maximum of 40 hours a week, and the actual weekly wages earned during the period that the claimant is temporarily partially disabled, not to exceed the injured worker's temporary total disability benefit rate.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (5), a worker is not eligible for temporary partial disability benefits or temporary total disability benefits if:

(a) the worker has been released by the treating physician to return to a modified or alternative position that the individual is able and qualified to perform with the same employer;

(b) the wages payable in the modified or alternative position, when combined with the temporary partial disability benefits, would result in an equivalent or higher wage than the worker received at the time of injury;  and

(c) the worker refuses to accept the modified or alternative position.  A worker requalifies for temporary total disability benefits if the modified or alternative position is no longer available to the worker for any reason except for the worker's incarceration as provided for in 39-71-744 , resignation, or termination for disciplinary reasons caused by a violation of the employer's policies that provide for termination of employment and if the worker continues to be temporarily totally disabled as defined in 39-71-116 .

(4) Temporary partial disability may not be credited against any permanent partial disability award or settlement under 39-71-703 .

(5) Unless a collective bargaining agreement precludes an injured worker from working in a modified or alternative position with a different employer or includes criteria different from those outlined in this subsection (5), an injured worker who has not reached maximum healing and who has a physical restriction may return to a modified or alternative position with a different employer at the same or a lower rate of wages as the rate paid by the employer at the time of injury if:

(a) a modified or alternative employment with the employer at the time of injury is not provided and the injured worker and that employer agree to the modified or alternative position with a different employer;

(b) a written description and all required duties of the modified or alternative position with a different employer are approved by the treating physician;

(c) both the employer at the time of injury and the injured worker agree to the type of alternative work, the alternative employer, and the terms and conditions of employment, including payment of benefits and employment taxes for the modified or alternative position with a different employer;

(d) an employee is not displaced as a result of the injured worker's placement in the modified or alternative position with a different employer;  and

(e) the employer at the time of injury, the different employer, and the injured worker agree in writing to the terms and conditions, including payment of benefits, covering the injured worker for subsequent injury, unemployment insurance, employment taxes, and liability and provide a copy of the agreement to the injured employee.

(6) Any additional expenses related to the modified or alternative position, including travel, equipment, or training, must be paid by either the employer at the time of injury or the different employer and may not be charged to or deducted from the wages or benefits of the injured employee.

(7) Notwithstanding a written agreement between the employer at the time of injury and a different employer, the employer at the time of injury is the primary employer if a dispute over wages, benefits, employment taxes, workers' compensation insurance, or other terms or conditions of employment occurs.

(8) The injured worker may refuse to accept a modified or alternative position with an employer other than the employer at the time of injury without penalty.  If the injured worker is offered a modified or alternative position with a different employer, the injured worker must be given written notice of the right of refusal from the employer at the time of injury and the insurer prior to beginning work with the different employer.


FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.