Returning with limited capacity or ability

What to do when you cannot do the same work you were doing before your injury.


Your employer is obligated to provide ongoing employment

If you are unable to return to your normal job, your employer has an obligation to provide you with suitable employment when you have some capacity for work.

The obligation continues for 52 weeks. This may not be 52 consecutive weeks, as it only takes into account those periods that you are unable to do your full pre-injury duties and hours as a result of your work-related injury. The obligation starts from when you provide your employer with either a claim for weekly payments or your first WorkSafe certificate of capacity, whichever is earlier, or your employer's agent advises them that they have received these documents.

If you recover sufficiently and are able to return to your normal job and hours during this 52 week period, your employer is required to provide you with your pre-injury or equivalent employment.

Employers must meet these requirements to the extent it is reasonable to do so. In most circumstances, it is expected that it will be reasonable for employers to fulfil this obligation.

Many employers continue to support their injured workers by providing suitable employment for a longer time period, but there is no legal obligation to do so.

Agents will write to workers who have an incapacity for more than 30 weeks to ensure they are aware of the duration of the employer obligation to provide suitable or pre-injury employment.

When you can't return to work with your pre-injury employer

Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, some workers may be unable to return to work and stay at work with their pre-injury employer. It's important that you keep your agent fully informed to ensure you receive appropriate services for your situation. If you are unable to return to work and stay at work with your pre-injury employer, the following assistance may be available through the agent.

New Employer Services (NES) for workers

A service delivered by an occupational rehabilitation provider. It's designed to help you find a safe, suitable and sustainable job with a new employer if you are unable to return to work with your pre-injury employer.

The WorkSafe Incentive Scheme for Employers (WISE)

A program aimed at helping you to secure full-time or part-time permanent employment with a new employer. To be eligible you need to be ready, fit and motivated to return to work, but unable to return to your pre-injury employer.

Short-term vocational training

WorkSafe may also pay for short-term vocational training designed to assist you to obtain suitable employment.

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