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Common law return to work redesign

Based on the insights from our customers, stakeholders and data around the outcomes from our common law rehabilitation and return to work program to date, opportunities to improve this process and support during a common law claim were drawn out.

Engaging more workers to actively participate in this program and better tailor the experience to meet the customers’ needs would help more workers return to sustainable employment; and in turn lessen the financial stress and insecurity they endure, make them feel valued, and give them a sense of empowerment.

Design approach and outcomes

Utilising a people-centred design once more, and in partnership with the University of Queensland, we interviewed more than forty-five (45) workers and held rounds of workshops with key stakeholders, including unions, employer associations and lawyers. The previously provided feedback on our common law rehabilitation and return to work (RTW) program from customers, lawyers and providers also informed the overall approach.

It was found that in the twelve (12) months prior to September 2018, 1,400 workers (<50%) who lodged common law claims were not working when they lodged their common law claim; and that participation rates have varied since 2015.

To increase this rate, in early 2018, WorkCover Queensland implemented a pilot program to improve the manner in which was initially engaged with plaintiff solicitors and workers to participate in this program. Using feedback from the firms, a new engagement and communication process was designed. This new process revealed an increased participation among workers represented by these firms by 66%. Results showed that focussing on the worker—asking how they are and what they can do, joint goal setting, finding agreement, and scheduling regular updates allowed for better RTW outcomes.

Employment Connect

The next stage in our approach was to work with stakeholders (i.e. lawyers, unions, employers, industry associations and allied health providers) to better understand the problem and opportunities in this space, and to develop a the return to work program so that it better met customer needs and achieve better employment outcomes. As a result of further research and combining best practice research, we developed a new program called Employment Connect.

Next steps

Designing Employment Connect program resulted in the development and running of a pilot in 2019. This pilot continued until June 2020. We are undertaking a review of the results and put forward any recommendations for adjustment however we note some increase in participation and achievement of better outcomes.