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Return to work programs

A return to work program is an integral part of any injury management system.

A Template Return to Work Program (Word - 30kb) is available to assist employers in developing an appropriate program.

When is a return to work program required?

An employer is required to develop a formal (written) return to work program for a worker when the medical practitioner:

  • advises the employer in writing that a return to work program should be established for the worker
  • signs a medical certificate indicating that the worker has partial capacity to return to work
  • signs a medical certificate indicating that the worker has total capacity to return to work, but for some reason is not able to return to the position held immediately prior to injury.

What must be included in a return to work program?

The Workers’ Compensation Code of Practice (Injury Management) 2005 (the Code) outlines the requirements of establishment, content and implementation of return to work programs. The return to work program must include:

  • the employer’s name and the name of the injured worker
  • a description of the goal of the program
  • the actions to be taken to enable the worker to return to work and who is to take them
  • a statement as to whether the worker agrees to the content of the program.

WorkCover WA’s Injury Management: A Guide for Employers (PDF - 1.3MB) publication provides information to assist employers with developing return to work programs, including information on communicating with the worker, the content of the program, the return to work goal and identifying suitable duties.


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