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New rehabilitation and return to work guidelines for insurers

The new guidelines for insurers can help you to understand more about accredited rehabilitation and return to work programs (ARRTW) and rehabilitation and return to work plans (RRTW plans).

Best practice

You can support positive return to work outcomes for injured workers by understanding the systems and tools insurers use to manage rehabilitation and return to work (RRTW).

There are new guidelines that can help you understand more about accredited rehabilitation and return to work programs (ARRTW programs) and rehabilitation and return to work plans (RRTW plans). This includes:

  • the purpose of an insurer’s ARRTW program, how it can support an injured worker, and when a worker needs to be referred to it
  • how a RRTW plan works and why it’s an important tool for you to support an injured worker and positively influence return to work outcomes.

While the guidelines are targeted at insurers, they also establish insurer, employer and worker responsibilities for RRTW planning, how these interact, and why it’s important to work together to achieve positive outcomes for injured workers.

Why this is important

By supporting an injured worker to return to work quickly and safely, you’ll improve return to work outcomes for the worker, as well as improve productivity and reduce costs for your business.

As an employer, you play a key role in return to work planning, and your attitude towards a returning worker can have a critical influence on return to work outcomes. One way you can show your support is to help your workers to understand the workers’ compensation process and their entitlements.[1]

If possible, you should offer alternative work duties to support recovery at work. The suitable duties program you develop for an injured worker details how to do this and is a key component of a worker’s RRTW plan.

Your toolkit

Check out the new RRTW guidelines:

It includes relevant information for employers, including explaining:

  • the purpose a RRTW plan, who needs a RRTW plan, what a RRTW plan looks like, and when it needs to be developed
  • the evidence that return to work planning improves return to work outcomes
  • why a supportive, tailored, person-centred and collaborative approach to return to work planning is so important, and how to work with the worker, insurer and treating health providers to achieve this.

An injured worker’s tailored RRTW plan, which is coordinated by your insurer, is a critical tool for you to influence return to work outcomes and to work collaboratively with a worker, your insurer, and a worker’s treating health providers towards a shared goal.

You can also read our article about the benefits of return to work planning, which explains how you can support effective return to work planning, take a person-centred approach and develop an effective suitable duties program.