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Host employment: information for employers

Returning an injured worker to their existing employer is not always possible as the employer may not have suitable duties. If this is the case, but the injured worker has a capacity for work, WorkCover Queensland may find a 'host employer' for them. 

Host employers should provide a supportive working environment and have a positive approach to injury management and return to work outcomes.

If the worker is injured while participating in a host program, WorkCover covers the cost of the claim and there is no registration against the host employer's policy.

What is a 'host employer'?

A host employer is an employer who agrees to have an injured worker at their workplace when the worker is unable to participate in rehabilitation with their original employer.

WorkCover pays the worker's wages when they participate in a suitable duties program with a host employer. These programs normally run from 3–6 weeks.

A host employer is not obliged to employ a person after their program has ended. However, if you wish to provide paid employment following the host, you may be exempt from costs of a work related aggravation of the original injury (conditions apply).

Benefits for the host employer include:

  • an additional skilled worker whose wages are paid by WorkCover Queensland
  • increased productivity for your business
  • an additional 'set of hands' to provide support to the organisation
  • if you do wish to recruit a new team member, hosting a worker can be a obligation free way of trialling them while helping the worker with their return to work.

What is a suitable duties plan?

A suitable duties plan is a graduated work program that helps workers improve their work fitness. If suitable duties cannot be identified with their existing employer, the WorkCover customer advisor will determine if a host employer is required.

They will also oversee the suitable duties plan and be the main point of contact for all parties, liaising with the employer, worker, treating doctor and allied health providers.

A suitable duties plan can be stopped at any time by the:

  • host employer
  • WorkCover customer advisor
  • treating doctor.

Benefits for the worker include:

  • an opportunity to develop a range of work skills and improve work fitness
  • a reference for satisfactory work
  • an opportunity to build confidence in their abilities to re-enter the work force.

WorkCover's responsibilities

WorkCover is responsible for:

  • paying the worker's wages
  • developing an appropriate program that is consistent with the person's capabilities and medical advice
  • coordinating and monitoring the program, including making sure everyone involved in the program is satisfied with its progress
  • arranging workers' compensation insurance and indemnifying the host employer during the placement
  • consulting with union representatives before the worker starts the suitable duties program (where appropriate).

Host employer's responsibilities

The host employer is responsible for providing feedback on the program progress and for providing a safe workplace – as they do for their own employees.

Worker's responsibilities

The worker must adhere to the employer's policies and procedures such as punctuality. They must also attend and undertake work tasks as specified in the program.

How to find out more

You can read more about WorkCover's recover at work host employment program.

If you are interested in becoming a host employer, please call your WorkCover contact or call 1300 362 128 and ask to be put through to a customer advisor in your industry.

Last updated
15 February 2016

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