The literature on time off work and return to work after burns is incomplete. This study addresses this and includes a systematic literature review and two-center series. The literature was searched from 1966 through October 2000. Two-center data were collected on 363 adults employed outside of the home at injury. Data on employment, general demographics, and burn demographics were collected. The literature search found only 10 manuscripts with objective data, with a mean time off work of 10 weeks and %TBSA as the most important predictor of time off work. The mean time off work for those who returned to work by 24 months was 17 weeks and correlated with %TBSA. The probability of returning to work was reduced by a psychiatric history and extremity burns and was inversely related to %TBSA. In the two-center study, 66% and 90% of survivors had returned to work at 6 and 24 months post-burn. However, in the University of Washington subset of the data, only 37% had returned to the same job with the same employer without accommodations at 24 months, indicating that job disruption is considerable. The impact of burns on work is significant.