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Return to work plan: a perfect fit

Shoe store manager Evelyn worked together with her employer Jo Mercer, doctor and WorkCover to find a way to get back to the job she loves after sustaining an injury.

Evelyn fractured her ribs after a fall during her lunch break in the mall complex where she works.

After a period of convalescence, Evelyn began physiotherapy to ease the pain in her ribs which had referred down her leg due to her altered gait caused by the injury.

Evelyn returned to work the following week but was struggling and had to leave the store early on several occasions as she was in too much pain. Being a store manager, she felt responsible for the store, but was finding it difficult to work her normal hours and could feel her injury and pain getting worse.

A WorkCover Customer Advisor visited Evelyn and her regional manager and went through a list of Evelyn's normal duties, her current capacity and, with input from her doctor, they developed a graduated return to work plan which would allow her to be at work, but on reduced hours to avoid aggravating her injury.

With the guidance and consultation of her physiotherapist and GP, they were able to come up with a list of suitable duties for Evelyn, who was gradually able to build up her tolerance for work and restore her confidence in her daily tasks. She has since returned to full working hours.

Evelyn said Jo Mercer and her regional manager were incredibly supportive of her during her recovery and their flexibility helped in her return to work.

“I threw myself straight back into work because I love my job and I feel responsible for the store, but this was to the detriment of my health.

“I realised that my dedication to working normal hours too soon after my injury was actually not good for business, as when I inevitably had to go home because I was in pain all the time, it left the store with less staff.

“Working together with WorkCover and my manager, and keeping in regular contact with them, was really valuable,” Evelyn said.

To find out more about how we can work with you on the return to work process, call us on 1300 362 128.