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Employer obligations

If you're an employer and you have a worker who’s experienced a work-related injury or illness, you must help them return to work safely if you can. There are a number of things you should do to make this happen.

What is my role?

You’re required to provide your worker with rehabilitation in the workplace in order to support them in getting better and back to work safely and as early as possible. Research shows that this is a very important part of their recovery. This could mean making changes to their work while they recover. Your worker's rehabilitation should start as soon as possible after the injury has happened.

Depending on the size of your business you might have to appoint a Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator. You’ll also need to have workplace rehabilitation policies and procedures in place.

What are my responsibilities?

As an employer, you’re responsible for the following:

  • Follow the seven principles set out in the Guidelines for Standard for Rehabilitation(PDF, 0.38 MB) to make sure your worker has the right level of support to either stay at work or return to work.
  • You must report the injury and start the claim process. You might need to pay an excess  if your worker has taken time off and their claim is accepted.
  • Contact your worker as soon as you can after the injury.
  • Talk with your worker about returning to work being the goal. Encourage them to come back to work if it’s safe for them to do so.
  • Take time to understand how the injury is affecting your worker both physically and mentally.
  • You can offer flexible working arrangements to help your worker come back to work and find other work for them to do if needed. If you're unable to do this, WorkCover can talk to you about other options.
  • Keep an eye on your worker’s recovery process, making beneficial changes to their work as they improve. Continue to let WorkCover or the insurer know how they are going.
  • Make sure your rehabilitation and return to work coordinator (and any other key staff such as a supervisor) have the right skills and training and are supporting your worker as required.
  • Put in place and maintain effective workplace rehabilitation policies and procedures.
  • Related links

  • How to guide - if an injury or illness occurs
  • How to guide - getting back to work