Return to Work program implementation deadline passes

Tuesday, 11 June, 2019

Return to Work program implementation deadline passes

NSW businesses’ Return to Work (RTW) programs should now be in line with the 2017 Guidelines for workplace return to work programs, according to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

The RTW programs, which needed to be updated and implemented by 31 May 2019, help employers manage workplace injury or illness according to legislation and best practice requirements.

They also give employees the support they need to return to work sooner and in a sustainable manner.

This is critical, as employees who stay off work for longer than three months have a reduced chance of returning, according to Insurance and Care NSW (icare) Group Executive of Personal Injury Claims Beth Uehling.

Additionally, employees who are away from work for longer periods have a higher risk of social isolation and psychosocial issues which can further delay their recovery.

As a result, the guidelines stipulate that the RTW process should start as soon as possible after the workplace injury occurs.

This should include cooperation between employees and employers to establish and carry out an injury management plan, provision of employee consent to share information regarding their injury management and recovery between their insurer, employer, doctor, practitioners, providers and the SIRA.

Furthermore, in cases where injured employees don’t medically need time off or are ready to come back to work but are unable to complete their normal tasks, employers are required to provide alternative work — based on their age, skills and injury — until they’ve recovered.

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