Returning to work promptly and safely has positive health benefits for workers who have been injured in their workplace.

Your active participation in return to work activities is essential. The process to establish a personalised Return to Work Program and your associated obligations are outlined below.

Establishing a Return to Work Program

Your employer is required to establish a Return to Work Program for you if your doctor indicates on your First or Progress Certificate of Capacity you are:

  • partially fit to return to work in your usual job; or
  • totally or partially fit to return to an alternative job.

The Return to Work Program must be in writing and include:

  • your name and the name of your employer
  • a description of the goal for the Return to Work Program
  • the actions to be taken to enable you to return to work and who is to take them
  • a signed statement as to whether you agree to the content of the program.

Your employer must give you the opportunity to participate in the development of the program.

For more information refer to the Fact sheet: Return to work programs for workers.

Engaging an approved workplace rehabilitation provider

You, your employer or your treating medical practitioner may decide to engage an approved workplace rehabilitation provider to assist with the establishment and maintenance of an appropriate Return to Work Program.

For more information go to Workplace Rehabilitation Providers.

Your obligations

Your active participation is essential to successful injury management. It is important that you take an active role in your Return to Work Program and make reasonable efforts to return to work.

You are expected to:

  • report any injury early
  • complete the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form
  • provide original copies of your Certificates of Capacity in a timely fashion
  • attend medical and other appointments arranged by your treating doctor, or where directed by the insurer, independent medical specialist appointments
  • if unable to attend an appointment, take reasonable steps to make an alternative appointment as soon as possible
  • communicate with parties in an open and honest manner and reply to reasonable requests without undue delay
  • carry out agreed actions to the best of your ability, as outlined in the Return to Work Program
  • immediately inform the Injury Management Coordinator and your line manager of any difficulties carrying out the Return to Work Program
  • if referred to a workplace rehabilitation provider, actively participate in all aspects of the service and work cooperatively with the service provider
  • advise of any changes in your contact details
  • advise your treating doctor and other treatment providers of any changes.
Failure to participate

You are required to participate in the agreed Return to Work Program.

If you do not participate, your employer may lodge an application with the Workers’ Compensation Conciliation Service for an order to reduce or stop your weekly payments.

Workplace rehabilitation providers

Find out about your entitlement to engage a workplace rehabilitation provider and how they could assist with your return to work following an injury or illness in the course of your employment.

Go to Workplace rehabilitation providers.

Retaining your pre-injury position

If you have a partial or total capacity to work, your employer is usually required to provide you with your original position or another similar position.

If your employer intends to dismiss you while you are incapacitated, they are usually required to give you 28 days’ notice of their intention.

Note: If you are in receipt of weekly payments at the time of dismissal, you will usually be entitled to receive ongoing weekly payments and medical/related benefits.

Contact the insurer or Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744 to discuss your particular situation.