Employers

Help to get your worker back to work

  • Provide meaningful alternative duties.
  • Encourage a supportive workplace culture.
  • Have a copy of your insurer's injury management program so you can review and look for opportunities to develop workplace systems to support this program.
  • Involve not only the injured worker but their co-workers and supervisors to identify a list of alternative duties.
  • Involve the injured worker's doctor in identifying alternative duties; for example, develop a list of essential functions of particular jobs for treating doctors to complete.
  • Seek specialist or external support for complex cases.

Keep their job open

You must keep your injured worker's job available for them to return to for 12 months, unless:

  • there is medical evidence that it is highly unlikely the worker will be able to do their pre-injury job, or
  • their pre-injury job is no longer required.

If you decide to terminate a worker's employment for either of these reasons, you must tell the worker and your insurer in writing of the reasons.

However, terminating a worker's employment does not necessarily mean your obligations to the worker for injury management and compensation cease.

You must also bear in mind any relevant industrial relations law relating to termination of employment.

Suitable alternative duties

An injured worker may not be able to perform their normal duties, but have the capacity to carry out alternative suitable duties.

These are work tasks that the injured worker is suited to, taking into account the nature of their incapacity and their pre-injury employment and skills.

Where a worker cannot return to their pre-injury job, the employer must provide suitable alternative duties. You must consult with your injured worker and their treating medical practitioner to decide on the alternative duties and ensure these do not hamper the worker's recovery. You'll find a sample register in the Injury Management Guides.

Returning to work and injury management plans

Where a worker suffers a significant injury, the injury management co-ordinator assigned to them must ensure there is a plan for coordinating and managing the worker's treatment, rehabilitation and return to work.

Types of plans

There are 2 types of plans for managing a significant workplace injury: return to work plans and injury management plans.

The type of plan used depends on the time a worker is (or is likely to be) incapacitated for work.

Purposes of plans

Both plans ensure there is a consistent and agreed understanding of what is going to happen, and what to expect during the injury management process.

A return to work plan:

  • is a simple plan
  • is required where a worker is likely to be incapacitated for work for between 5 to 27 days
  • must be prepared within 5 days of the worker becoming incapacitated.

An injury management plan:

  • is a more comprehensive plan than a return to work plan
  • is required where a worker is likely to be incapacitated for work for 28 days or more
  • must be prepared within 5 days of the worker becoming incapacitated for more than 28 days.