Many companies have light duty policies, which are in place to ensure that employees suffering from temporary illness or injury may return to work as soon as possible while still contributing to the company in a meaningful way.
If an employee is recuperating from temporary illness or injury, a company may place him on light duty prior to full medical release. This means that the employee will temporarily be given work that is less physically demanding than usual so that he may return to work as soon as possible.
The purpose of a light duty policy is to allow an employee to return to work quickly, while ensuring the employee is a productive member of the company. Light duty policies are not meant to be used to create pointless "busy work." Rather, managers use the policy to delegate light work to a single employee, when ordinarily it would be spread out among a number of employees. Thus, when one employee is on light duty, other employees may have to take on more physically demanding work.
The decision to allow an employee to return to light duty is made by the employee's doctor. If a physician indicates that the employee is unable to fulfil his usual duties but is able to fulfil light duties, the physician may release the employee for light duty work until he is fully able to perform his usual duties.