Planning your worker’s return to work as soon as possible after they’ve been injured is called ‘early intervention’.
If you support your worker immediately in the right way, they are more likely to recover quickly and be able to get back to work safely. You don’t have to wait until the outcome of their claim is finalised.
The best early intervention methods are to make contact quickly, make all communication personalised and make sure your worker has all the information they need. This Employer Return to Work Guide has tips and answers to frequently asked questions about planning your worker's return to work.
How should I make contact?
Talking with your worker in person or on the phone is the most helpful way to make early contact. This means a conversation can be had and both you and your worker can ask questions if needed. If this isn’t possible, you can also contact your worker in writing, by email or regular mail.
It’s important that you use the right language and that your approach is genuine, so your worker feels supported.
How do I do that?
There are simple ways to make sure early contact with your worker is positive for you both. Some of these are to:
- show genuine concern for your worker’s health and wellbeing and display empathy for their situation
- try to understand how the injury is affecting your worker in different ways (physically, mentally, socially)
- measure how the injury is affecting them emotionally (mood, fears, frustrations etc.)
- help your worker to feel confident they have support in the workplace and make sure they know who to contact and how
- help your worker focus on next steps and moving forward.
What else do they need?
As well as making contact early, it’s helpful to make sure your worker has access to any information they might need to do with getting back to work.
You can put together an information pack for them, to help reduce confusion. This also helps them to know what their rights and responsibilities are.
A return to work information pack is not essential but can be very useful. It could include:
- an introduction of the person who’ll be looking after your worker’s return. This should include their contact details
- a list of who is involved in your worker’s return to work, what their role is and what they will do
- how communication is going to work throughout the process
- any forms or information your worker might need to access leave entitlements, if appropriate.