Program: New Employer Services (NES) for workers

A program to help injured workers find new employment.

Date last updated

Sunday 09 Feb 2020

Industries and topics
  • Return to work

About New Employer Services

WorkSafe provides services to help you find safe and ongoing work with a new employer when you are unable to return to sustainable work with your pre-injury employer. These are called New Employer Services (NES).

Please note: Challenging acronyms ahead

NES: New Employer Services
OR: Occupational rehabilitation
WISE: WorkSafe Incentive Scheme for Employers
WAS: Worker Assistance Scheme

If you're having difficulty understanding this information, please contact WorkSafe's advisory service.

As part of NES, retraining can also be considered to help you to obtain new skills or extend skills that you already have, to assist you to find a new job. Your occupational rehabilitation provider can guide you on suitable courses and work with your WorkSafe Agent to help you get started with retraining.

You may also access the WorkSafe Incentive Scheme for Employers (WISE) when you are unable to return to work with your injury employer. This means if you find a new job, your new employer can get a financial incentive of up $26,000 for providing you with ongoing employment.

If you find new paid employment while you're participating in NES, the Worker Assistance Scheme (WAS) is available to help you prepare for returning to providing some financial assistance. You should ask your agent or OR provider for more details on WAS.

Frequently asked questions

How will New Employer Services help me?

An independent occupational rehabilitation provider will:

  • explore your skills and help you to focus on what you need to become ready to return to work
  • seek your treating health practitioner's advice for suitable jobs
  • assist you to understand WISE and WAS
  • assist you with job seeking and giving you the skills to find a suitable job
  • investigate retraining where it might be appropriate
  • carry out a workplace assessment if you are offered a job, so you will know that you can safely perform the new job requirements.

Who provides this service?

NES is provided by an occupational rehabilitation provider approved by WorkSafe. You are able to choose which approved provider you would like to work with. These providers are experienced in dealing with workplace injuries and helping people back to work. They are also independent from WorkSafe and your WorkSafe Agent.

Why have I been referred for this service?

Based on your individual circumstances and information provided (for example, by your treating healthcare professional or employer) your WorkSafe Agent has decided you will benefit from NES. You are encouraged to talk with your WorkSafe Agent about what assistance you believe would help you return to work.

What will happen now I have been referred for New Employer Services?

  1. The type of service that you will be referred for depends on the extent of your current work capacity. For all services, the occupational rehabilitation provider will contact you to make an appointment. You will be asked to meet with them so they can explain the expectations of the service, what they can do to assist you and how they will work with you.
  2. The occupational rehabilitation provider will also talk to you about the type of work you have performed previously and what type of work you may be suited to doing in the future, including any retraining that may be appropriate.
  3. Depending on the service, the occupational rehabilitation provider may complete a report following the appointment or a number of reports throughout your involvement with them. The occupational rehabilitation provider will also try to talk to/meet with your doctor about your work capacity, to help complete these reports and to ensure the right services are being delivered to you.
  4. The occupational rehabilitation provider will, in many instances, continue to work with you following this initial meeting to help you focus on what you can do: help you to become job ready; assist you with job search activities; and monitor your progress in finding a suitable job when you are fit to return to work. They will provide you, your treating health practitioner and your WorkSafe Agent with a regular update on your job seeking progress.

When you are fit to return to work, the occupational rehabilitation provider will also encourage you to look for a suitable job yourself, as well as approach potential employers about WISE to help identify a suitable job for you.

Who will be at appointments arranged by the occupational rehabilitation provider?

You and the occupational rehabilitation provider will be present. You are also entitled to be represented, assisted and supported in the return to work process by a nominated representative such as a family member, friend, colleague or union representative.

If you choose to involve a representative, let the occupational rehabilitation provider know so they can ring them to arrange a mutually suitable meeting time.

What if I need an interpreter?

If you have a hearing impairment or your first language is not English, ask your WorkSafe Agent to arrange for a professional interpreter to attend any occupational rehabilitation services with you. A family member or friend should not act as your interpreter.

Who will receive a copy of my New Employer Services reports?

The occupational rehabilitation provider will send a copy of any reports to you, your treating health practitioner and your WorkSafe Agent.

Does my injury employer have a role in the New Employer Services process?

No. As the decision has been made that you are unable to return to sustainable work with them, they are not included in the services offered to help you find work with a new employer.

Do I have to attend appointments for New Employer Services?

Yes, you are reasonably required to attend and actively participate in NES appointments, and to cooperate with the provider of these services. Your weekly payments may be suspended or terminated and your entitlement to weekly payments may cease if you do not actively participate, co-operate and make reasonable efforts to return to work. If however, you are not able to attend an appointment it is important to let your occupational rehabilitation provider know so that alternative arrangements can be made.

What do I need to know about WAS?

Worker Assistance Scheme (WAS) provides financial assistance of $200 to a worker who is currently receiving New Employer Services (NES) and has secured new employment of at least 15 hours with a new employer. The payment is not for items of clothing or equipment that the employer is obliged to provide.

You should speak to your Agent about whether you are eligible to access WAS upon accepting an offer and securing of new paid employment. 

What do I need to know about WISE?

WISE is a 6-month financial incentive of up to $26,000 paid to a new employer who offers ongoing employment of 15 hours or more a week. WISE may be available for you because you are unable to return to work with your injury employer. You should speak to your Agent about whether you are eligible to use WISE.

Most employers are eligible for WISE. Labour hire companies, employment agencies or group training organisations that place you into a workplace of another employer may not be eligible for WISE.

Can WISE be used for self-employment?

No. Workers cannot access WISE for themselves. This includes self-employment or where a worker is a director or a board member of a company that offers them employment.

What happens if I accept a job offer?

If you decide to accept a job offer, the occupational rehabilitation provider will visit the workplace and review the job requirements to give you and your new employer confidence that you can safely perform that role. They may help you to complete the WAS payment paperwork and also help the new employer complete the WISE payment paperwork.

Does returning to work affect my weekly payments?

Yes. Any return to work where you receive wages will impact on the amount of your weekly payments. In some cases, you can continue to receive weekly payments in addition to the wages paid by your new employer. You should contact your WorkSafe Agent to discuss how this works.

What happens if I have another injury?

You should contact your WorkSafe Agent. They may decide the injury is related to your old claim. Alternatively, they may ask you to lodge a new WorkSafe claim on your new (WISE) employer and forward it to your WISE employer's WorkSafe Agent. A new claim for an injury sustained in the first 2 years from the commencement of your WISE placement will not impact on your WISE employer's WorkSafe Injury Insurance premium. The WISE employer is obliged, however, to pay the employer excess which is the first 10 days of weekly payments and the first $682 of medical and like services (correct as at 1 July 2016 – indexed annually).

Note: For WISE placements that commenced prior to 5 September 2016, the WISE employer premium protection only applies for injuries sustained in the first 12 months of the placement.

What happens if I have to stop work?

This depends on how long you are expected to be away from work. You should contact your WorkSafe Agent, your treating health practitioner and your new employer to discuss your capacity and when you are likely to be able to return to work. The answers will determine what is most appropriate for you.

Will my new employer continue to offer me work?

This will depend on what duties you can perform and how long you are expected to be away from work. You should contact your WorkSafe Agent or the WorkSafe Advisory Service to discuss this.

I have concerns about returning to work

If you cannot accept a job offer that is made to you or you have any issues or concerns about getting back to work, you should raise these with the occupational rehabilitation provider, your WorkSafe Agent or your nominated representative (if involved).

Who pays NES, WAS and WISE?

NES, WAS and WISE are provided as part of your WorkSafe claim.

Further information

For more information about NES, please contact your WorkSafe Agent, or WorkSafe's advisory service, or your nominated union representative.