5 CFR 353.301 - Restoration rights.
(a)Fully recovered within 1 year. An employee who fully recovers from a compensable injury within 1 year from the date eligibility for compensation began (or from the time compensable disability recurs if the recurrence begins after the employee resumes regular full-time employment with the United States), is entitled to be restored immediately and unconditionally to his or her former position or an equivalent one. Although these restoration rights are agencywide, the employee's basic entitlement is to the former position or equivalent in the local commuting area the employee left. If a suitable vacancy does not exist, the employee is entitled to displace an employee occupying a continuing position under temporary appointment or tenure group III. If there is no such position in the local commuting area, the agency must offer the employee a position (as described above) in another location. This paragraph also applies when an injured employee accepts a lower-grade position in lieu of separation and subsequently fully recovers. A fully recovered employee is expected to return to work immediately upon the cessation of compensation.
(b)Fully recovered after 1 year. An employee who separated because of a compensable injury and whose full recovery takes longer than 1 year from the date eligibility for compensation began (or from the time compensable disability recurs if the recurrence begins after the injured employee resumes regular full-time employment with the United States), is entitled to priority consideration, agencywide, for restoration to the position he or she left or an equivalent one provided he or she applies for reappointment within 30 days of the cessation of compensation. Priority consideration is accorded by entering the individual on the agency's reemployment priority list for the competitive service or reemployment list for the excepted service. If the individual cannot be placed in the former commuting area, he or she is entitled to priority consideration for an equivalent position elsewhere in the agency. (See parts 302 and 330 of this chapter for more information on how this may be accomplished for the excepted and competitive services, respectively.) This subpart also applies when an injured employee accepts a lower-graded position in lieu of separation and subsequently fully recovers.
(c)Physically disqualified. An individual who is physically disqualified for the former position or equivalent because of a compensable injury, is entitled to be placed in another position for which qualified that will provide the employee with the same status, and pay, or the nearest approximation thereof, consistent with the circumstances in each case. This right is agencywide and applies for a period of 1 year from the date eligibility for compensation begins. After 1 year, the individual is entitled to the rights accorded individuals who fully or partially recover, as applicable.
(d)Partially recovered. Agencies must make every effort to restore in the local commuting area, according to the circumstances in each case, an individual who has partially recovered from a compensable injury and who is able to return to limited duty. At a minimum, this would mean treating these employees substantially the same as other handicapped individuals under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. (See 29 U.S.C. 791(b) and 794.) If the individual fully recovers, he or she is entitled to be considered for the position held at the time of injury, or an equivalent one. A partially recovered employee is expected to seek reemployment as soon as he or she is able.