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What if my injured worker won’t talk to me?

Best practice

A worker has the right to refuse to be contacted by you. Respect your worker’s needs by giving them time and space to recover and provide them details on how to contact you when they are ready or need your assistance.

You can still practice early intervention by making regular contact via your insurer and the worker’s rehabilitation providers, keeping up to date through their Work capacity certificate – workers’ compensation and offering suitable duties.

Why is this important

Successful return to work outcomes results from early and ongoing support that is tailored to an injured worker’s needs.

Your toolkit

  • If your injured worker tells you they don’t want you to contact them, be led by these general principles:
    • Respect their wishes. Confirm that you won’t contact them and let them know you are available if and when they are ready to talk.
    • If they request limited contact, be led by the worker and follow their preferred contact method and timeframe (for example, if they wish to be contacted once a month only).
    • Contact your insurer to let them know the worker’s wishes and check if there’s a nominated representative you can contact instead of the worker. Your insurer may assist to ensure important information is relayed to all relevant stakeholders.
    • When the worker has clearance to return to work, consider mediation or facilitated discussions through a qualified provider to resume communication. You can discuss options with your insurer.
  • Read through the Guidelines for standard for rehabilitation (second edition) (PDF, 0.58 MB) which aim to support employers to understand their role in facilitating rehabilitation and return to work and provide guidance on how to fulfill your responsibilities.
  • Read Safe Work Australia’s guide to managing your relationship with your injured worker. This guide will help you to manage communication and make changes to your workplace and/or your worker’s duties to help them return to work sooner.
  • Consider completing the Fair Work Ombudsman’s difficult conversations in the workplace course to build your skill and confidence to resolve workplace issues quickly and informally.
  • Share information with your workers about free, independent support services to support them: