Legal obligations for supporting staff return to work

Learn about your obligations to help injured employees return to healthy work.



How this helps your business

Regardless of whether they have a physical or mental injury, when you play an active role in helping injured employees return to work:

  • your employees (who are vital to your business' success) may recover faster after injury
  • you keep the skills and knowledge of your injured employees
  • you reduce the costs of lost productivity
  • you save the costs of recruiting and training new staff to cover the role
  • you help build morale in the workplace by showing all employees that the injured worker is valued

Key stats and facts

Step 1: Learn more on this topic

Watch this video about your role in helping workers return to work.

Step 2: Update your resources

  • Display 'If you are injured' posters in your workplace.
  • Make sure you use the version of the poster that lists your insurance agent's contact details.

Step 3: Understand your obligations

As an employer you have the following return to work obligations:

  • You must plan for your injured worker's return to work. Employers must plan even if their worker is still off work because of their injury.
  • Talk with your injured worker, their treating health practitioner and the occupational rehabilitation provider (if involved).
  • You must give your injured worker suitable employment. You need to offer suitable work for 52 weeks but this can be complicated to calculate as it is not always consecutive weeks. Contact your insurance agent to seek their advice.
  • You must appoint a suitable return to work coordinator. This is either a permanent position or only required when you have an injured employee. This depends on the size of your organisation.
  • Make information about return to work available to all workers.
  • If you are a host employer and have labour hire employees at your site, you need to support the labour hire employer to meet their return to work obligations.

You can read more detail in the fact sheet below.

Step 4: Know where to find information

If one of your employees is injured at work, go to the WorkSafe Victoria website to get up to date information to help get your employee back to work safely and quickly. There are 5 key tasks listed below to help your injured employee return to work.

  • Get relevant information about your employee's ability to work from their treating health professionals.
  • Consider reasonable workplace support, aids or modifications that would make it possible for your employee to return to work.
  • Look at options for suitable work. This work could the same or different to what your employee did before their injury. Where possible, show this work option to your employee.
  • Give your employee clear, accurate and up-to-date details about their return to work arrangements.
  • Monitor your employee's progress.

More information

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Disclaimer: The WorkWell Toolkit provides general information only. Please consider your specific circumstances, needs and seek appropriate professional advice.