Common Questions Asked About ‘Return to Work’ Programs


You least expect to be injured at work but it does happen. Especially if it has never happened to you before you may be unaware of your rights under the workers compensation system. You may be confused about what to expect after injury at work and how the return to work program works and what are the responsibilities of the various parties involved. We touch upon the main points below to offer you clarity:

First, let’s look at your responsibility as an injured worker returning to work

  • Injured workers have an obligation to participate in a return to work program and must make a reasonable effort to return to suitable duties at work once they have the capacity do so.
  • Payments of weekly compensation can be suspended for workers who fail to comply with their obligations.
  • If you’re capable of doing work, then you should cooperate with your employer or the insurer and make reasonable efforts to return to suitable employment.
  • You’re free to seek ongoing treatment from your preferred doctor and rehabilitation provider rather than just agreeing with the company or insurer’s provider.

What is the responsibility of your employer?

  • Your employer is required by law to provide suitable work (where possible) that matches your capacity and supports your recovery.
  • Your employer will talk to you, the insurer and your doctor to understand your needs to provide suitable work.
  • Your employer must not dismiss you because of your work-related injury within six months of when you first become unfit for work as a result of your injury.
  • Employers must provide suitable duties to injured workers who can work providing it is reasonably practical for them to do so.
  • Provide employees with information about workers compensation, return to work procedures and choice of treating doctor and rehabilitation providers.
  • Cooperate with the insurer in providing retraining or different job opportunities to an injured worker and notify them if unable to provide suitable employment for the recovering injured worker.

What is the responsibility of your insurer?

  • The insurer will discuss the needs of the injured worker to help determine an injury management plan.
  • They will consult with all parties involved when referring a worker to a rehabilitation provider.
  • The insurer must also advise the worker how to go about changing rehabilitation providers if they want to.

What is the responsibility of your nominated treating doctor (NTD)?

If your injury prevents you from doing your regular job for seven days or more, the law requires you to nominate a treating doctor, usually your family GP.

You must authorise your NTD to provide relevant information about your injury and needs to your employer and insurance agent. Your treating doctor will work closely with you to manage your recovery from injury and to assist in your safe return to employment while recovering from injury, recommend and organise treatment for your injury or illness.

  • Consult with you and complete your medical certificates and the certificate of capacity
  • Communicate with your employer, insurer and specialists (if involved) about your health condition, progress and recommend amended return to work duties and workplace adjustments that assist with your transition back to work.
  • Communicate with your insurer/employer in the development of your Injury Management Plan
  • Regular follow-up and review of your condition and capacity for work on a regular basis

Your worker’s compensation claim and return to work program should be undertaken in consultation with your medical practitioner. Medical evidence provides the strongest support for compensation payments, so it’s important to retain all medical reports and other information provided by your medical practitioner.

If required, Taylor & Scott Compensation Lawyers can procure medical evidence on your behalf, along with statements from your doctor or treating medical professional that detail your situation and timeline for a healthy recovery.

What to expect from your workplace rehabilitation provider

Workplace rehabilitation providers are usually health professionals like occupational therapists, physiotherapists, rehabilitation counsellors and psychologists. They act as the facilitator to ensure that the needs of both the worker and employer are met concerning a return to work program. They will:

  • Act as a liaison to ensure that the needs of both the worker and employer are met and help address risk factors which may impact the worker’s ability to recover at/return to work,
  • Help identify suitable or alternate duties at work, assist with equipment and workplace modification needs, complex injury or communication breakdown.

Taylor & Scott’s Offer to You

Taylor & Scott Compensation Lawyers can assist in cases where your claim is disputed by your employer or their insurer.

We will thoroughly investigate your situation, and If we believe you have a viable workers compensation claim, we will make an application for a grant of legal assistance from WIRO, meaning that you will not pay any legal costs in pursuing a workers compensation claim.

Need help with a claim? Arrange an appointment using our online contact form or call 1800 600 664.

At Taylor and Scott, We Care For You.

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