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Common law return to work redesign

Project overview

We want to help workers achieve their return to work goals during a common law claim by designing and delivering a program that puts the worker at the centre, is tailored to suit their needs and goes beyond legislative compliance.

Based on insights from our customers and data about the outcomes from our common law rehabilitation and return to work program to date, there are opportunities to improve how we provide return to work support during a common law claim to better meet the needs of our customers.

There are opportunities to:

  • Engage more workers to actively participate in the program during common law
  • Provide a tailored program that better meets workers’ needs and
  • Help more workers return to sustainable employment.

This may go some way to helping them:

  • Feel less financial stress and insecurity during their common law claim
  • Feeling valued and that they are being treated as a “human”
  • Feeling empowered and supported in getting their life back on track after their injury.

In this next stage of our project we are working with stakeholders including lawyers, unions, employers, industry associations and allied health providers to better understand the problem and opportunities and develop initial ideas. We will then test these ideas with workers and stakeholders before piloting them.

On the following pages we have shared information from our customers and results to help inform stakeholders prior to the workshops.

We are mindful that the Government is considering a number of proposals identified in the recent Scheme Review. These include consideration of when return to work support is provided by insurers. In the context of these proposals, for this project we are focussing on the support provided once a common law claim is lodged. This may give us learnings that can help other groups of workers in the future.


WorkCover’s common law rehabilitation and return to work (RTW) program commenced following legislation changes in late 2015. It is offered to all workers who are not working when they lodge their common law claims. This is a legislative requirement. The offer of assistance is typically made by a letter from WorkCover’s panel lawyer to the worker’s lawyer.

Services are currently provided by a specific team of WorkCover Customer Advisors or external providers. Support currently includes:

  • Help with resume and interview preparation and job search/seeking skills
  • Formal assessments such as functional capacity evaluations and vocational assessments.

A small number of requests are made for help with retraining or further rehabilitation. The vast majority of requests for support/services are approved and funded by WorkCover. WorkCover may also refer workers to other Government support services such as other job seeking support.

Last updated
31 October 2018

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