Helping your employee return to work

You can make a big difference to your employee’s ability to return to work.


Helping during the return to work process

Returning an injured worker back to work is a team effort involving the worker, their treating health practitioner, the WorkSafe agent, the return to work coordinator, the employer and colleagues in the workplace.

Returning to safe work is a key part of the recovery process. The earlier the worker can begin the return to work process, the more successful it’s likely to be.

Workers also have return to work obligations, which includes making reasonable efforts to return to work with their employer or, if necessary, another employer, and to actively participate and cooperate in the planning for their return to work.

Return to work for employers

Your role as an employer

As an employer, you play a key role in assisting injured workers to return earlier, to safe and sustainable work.

A worker doesn't need to be 100 percent recovered to return to work. Returning to work is an important part of their recovery so it’s in yours and your worker’s best interests to help them return to work as soon as possible.

Whether it’s reduced hours in their regular job or suitable, alternative duties, getting your worker back to work is an important part of their rehabilitation while they are recovering. A work-related injury or illness can have a big impact on what an injured worker is able to do. They may not be able to do what they did previously, either at work or at home.

There are also legal obligations as an employer you have to meet under the Workplace Injury, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013. So, the earlier you start supporting your injured worker with returning to work, the better the outcome for everyone involved.

What’s involved in getting an injured worker back to work?

Develop a return to work plan

Once your worker consents, your organisation is required to consult with their doctor or healthcare professional to plan a safe and comfortable return to work for your worker.

You should also include your WorkSafe agent and your worker's occupational rehabilitation provider if there is one.

Appoint a Return to Work Coordinator

If your worker isn’t able to work and you don’t already have a Return to Work Coordinator, you'll need to appoint one.

It’s important to appoint someone who is empowered to speak on behalf of both the worker and your organisation to make return to work related decisions and help you meet your obligations.