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Suitable duties plan

A suitable duties plan is a graduated work program that helps injured workers improve their work fitness.

When necessary, an allied health provider will visit the worksite with the worker to develop the program so that it matches the person's abilities with appropriate job tasks and working hours. These tasks and hours are often increased during the program as the worker recovers.

A WorkCover customer advisor will oversee the suitable duties plan. The customer advisor is the main point of contact for all parties, liaising with the employer, worker, treating doctor and allied health providers.

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.

Talk to your worker about their return to work and what they think they can do. You can consider changes to working hours, duties (called suitable duties), tools and equipment when planning the return to work. Make a list of these that the worker can take with them when they see their treating doctor.

As an employer, you can also ask the worker if you can talk with their treating doctor directly to discuss stay at work options and suitable duties.

Remember suitable duties don't always need to be in the pre-injury role. Think about:

  • what other types of duties are available within the workplace
  • what projects or tasks have you wanted to do for sometime but haven't had the time/people.

If you do not have suitable duties for your worker, your customer advisor will identify if a host employer is appropriate and return the worker to some sort of work this way until the worker can resume their original duties.

As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide suitable duties—to take all reasonable steps to help with, or provide, rehabilitation to a worker suffering a work-related injury, while they're receiving compensation (s228 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003).

Last updated
15 February 2016

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Workers who get back to safe work as soon as possible recover more quickly than those who wait until they are fully recovered.


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