WorkCover: Return to Work Obligations

Returning to work following an injury must be done in line with your Doctors advice. It is important that both you and your employer adhere to the limitations detailed in your Certificates of Capacity so as to avoid you suffering further injury.

If you are currently in receipt of weekly payments, there are certain obligations that both you and your employer must adhere to.

Employer’s obligations

The following obligations are imposed on the WorkCover insurer and your employer:

  • For one year from your date of injury, provide you with pre-injury duties or alternative employment;
  • Plan return to work arrangements; and
  • Consult with you, your treating practitioner and occupational rehabilitation provider regarding your return to work.

A return to work plan must be signed by you, your doctor and the employer, prior to you commencing that plan.

Your obligations

The following obligations are imposed on you if you have an incapacity for work:

  • Make reasonable efforts to actively participate and co-operate in planning for your return to work;
  • Engage in occupational rehabilitation services and reasonably co-operate with the service;
  • Make reasonable attempts to return to work in suitable or pre-injury employment; and
  • Participate in assessments of your capacity for work, rehabilitation progress and future employment prospects.

What is considered “reasonable” efforts?

This will depend on your own circumstances, however you are seen to be making reasonable efforts if you return to work within the restrictions imposed by your Doctors, as outlined in your Certificates of Capacity.

If your treating doctor considers that engaging in return to work or rehabilitation services is not appropriate based on your work-related injuries, they should write to the provider outlining their reasons.

What happens if I do not comply with my obligations?

A WorkSafe inspector can issue an improvement notice mandating the employer’s compliance. Employers who breach return to work obligations also risk financial penalties and prosecution.

If you have been injured at work and are seeking advice about your rights and entitlements, please contact us on 1800 853 085 or 0488 722 444.