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Targeted audit campaign: insurer rehabilitation and return to work plans

Between 1 March and 31 July 2024, Workers' Compensation Regulatory Services is undertaking a targeted audit across all Queensland insurers on rehabilitation and return to work plans.

What you need to know

In May 2023, we published evidence-based rehabilitation and return to work guidelines to support insurers to understand and meet their obligations and provide evidence-based ways they can work towards achieving better practice.

The targeted audit of rehabilitation and return to work plans will:

  • assess how well Queensland workers’ compensation insurers are meeting their obligations
  • identify areas of better practice and opportunities for improvement
  • ensure we are providing relevant and practical guidance for insurers and employers.

Why this is important

Return to work outcomes are up to 1.7 times better when there is a written return to work plan. Return to work can also help prevent secondary problems related to extended absence from the workplace.

Rehabilitation and return to work plans are a claims management tool used by insurers to develop a tailored person centred approach to recovery and return to work.

Workers' compensation laws say that insurers must develop and maintain a rehabilitation and return to work plan for every accepted claim.

What actions can I take now?

This audit campaign will complement our ongoing insurer compliance and audit activities.

As an employer you won’t be impacted by this, and you won’t be notified if a claim is audited.

You must still provide rehabilitation opportunities for your workers by identifying suitable duties and developing a suitable duties program.

You can review your practices and talk with your insurer about how you can best contribute to your workers’ rehabilitation and return to work plans.

Your toolkit

  • Understand rehabilitation and return to work terms, roles and responsibilities (PDF, 0.41 MB) specific to the Queensland workers’ compensation scheme.
  • Understand the difference between a rehabilitation and return to work plan and a suitable duties program:
    • A rehabilitation and return to work plan is developed by an insurer. It is a tailored, written plan that outlines the worker’s overall rehabilitation objectives and the steps required to achieve them. It is also a communication tool between the different stakeholders involved in a worker’s rehabilitation and return to work. It is developed in consultation between an insurer, employer and a worker’s treating health provider, with the worker at the centre.
    • A suitable duties program is developed by an employer. It is tailored to the needs of an individual worker and sets out graduated progressions in hours, days or duties to help a worker return to normal. Best practice is a suitable duties program developed in collaboration with your worker and shared with your insurer.

      Download the injury information pack for employers and workers (DOCX, 0.61 MB) for help on how to develop a suitable duties program together.

  • Understand the critical influence you have as an employer on return to work outcomes:
    • Workers have better return to work outcomes when workplaces engage with them early and provide support immediately following an injury.
    • Having a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator or dedicated resource to manage the return to work process at the workplace improves return to work outcomes.
  • To understand the key system and tool that insurers use to manage rehabilitation and return to work, review the:
  • Subscribe to our Rehabilitation and Return to Work e-bulletin to stay informed on rehabilitation and return to work matters.