Labour hire: return to work

Labour hire providers and host employers both have legal responsibilities for helping an injured worker return to work. This guidance explains who is responsible for what.



Labour hire providers and host employers who have duties towards the same labour hire workers must, so far as is reasonable, consult, cooperate and coordinate with each other. This includes when helping an injured labour hire worker return to work.

Labour hire provider obligations

The labour hire provider, must:

  • plan for the worker's return to work. This includes the requirement to:
    • gather relevant information about the worker's capacity for work
    • consider reasonable workplace support, aids or modification to assist the worker's return to work
    • assess and propose options for what tasks the worker can do when they return to work. This may include altered duties if they have limited capacity or pre-injury employment if they have fully recovered. Provide clear, accurate and current details of the return-to-work arrangements
    • monitor the worker's progress and make adjustments as capacity changes.
  • so far as is reasonable or required in order to plan for the worker’s return to work, coordinate with and seek the cooperation of the host in relation to the worker’s return to work
  • consult with the worker, the treating health practitioner, with the consent of the worker, and occupational rehabilitation provider, if one is involved, about the return-to-work process
  • appoint a return-to-work coordinator who has an appropriate level of seniority and is competent to help you meet your return to work obligations
  • make return-to-work information available to all workers, including information about your obligations as an employer and how you will meet these obligations

Host employer obligations

As a host employer, you must, to the extent that it is reasonable, consult, cooperate and coordinate with the labour hire provider in meeting its return-to-work obligations and facilitating a worker's return to work.

Here are examples of how you can work together:

  • respond as soon as possible to the labour hire provider's request for assistance
  • provide a nominated workplace contact for return-to-work issues
  • provide the labour hire provider and other parties involved in the return-to-work process with reasonable access to the workplace
  • be available for discussions about providing duties, return-to-work planning and consultation
  • provide information regarding progress of the injured worker's return to work and their duties
  • explore options for providing suitable duties at your workplace, consistent with the injured worker's capacity
  • explore solutions with the labour hire provider that address barriers to the injured worker's return to work
  • provide reasons if you decide not to provide the injured worker with suitable duties

What if a host employer is not cooperating?

If a labour hire provider believes a host employer is not cooperating with them to the extent that is reasonable, they can talk to their WorkSafe Agent or contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

Employer penalties

Labour hire providers and host employers who breach their return to work obligations risk financial penalties and possible prosecution.

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