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Return to work strategies in the labour hire industry

Labour hire employers benefited from a recent webinar on return to work strategies in the labour hire / recruitment and placement services industries.

Labour hire industry manager Mike Ironside and Customer Advisor Aaron Stanley presented at the webinar.

Mike said the labour hire industry had some specific challenges around return to work, and the webinar aimed to equip those in the industry with tools and techniques to overcome this.

“Getting an injured worker back to work on suitable alternative duties is the best strategy for both the worker and the employer. Doing promotes recovery, so it's good to encourage the worker to return. “In the labour hire industry, labour hire employers have access to a large amount of host employers. So a good approach is to see if a host employer can accommodate suitable duties,” Mike said.

The webinar presentation can be viewed here.

Questions and answers

A number of questions were asked during the webinar – these questions and answers are below.

  • One reason why labour hire claims costs are high is that our host employers have no legal obligation to provide suitable duties, and more often than not they will not provide suitable duties. Therefore labour hire companies often don't have a willing host to assist with suitable duties. How can WorkCover assist in convincing a host employer to provide suitable duties without involving a rehab provider?
    • We can always organise a customer advisor to come and meet with the labour hire company representative and the host employer to discuss the benefits of providing suitable duties for labour hire staff injured on their site. Ultimately we cannot force the host into offering such duties, but if they can see what the benefit to them is they may be more willing to look at potential opportunities. If you'd like to arrange this, please call your Relationship Manager, or call 1300 362 128.
  • How does WorkCover know what has been paid to the worker during return to work, hence minimising top up payment by WorkCover?
    • As a worker commences reduced or restricted working hours due to an accepted injury, the claims representative or customer advisor will send out a partial incapacity form for employers to complete at the end of each week. This form advises what hours the injured worker has worked and what they have been paid for those hours worked. This will ensure that the injured worker only receives the top up payment for hours missed from work due to injury.
  • What was the name of the resource which referred to “if a person is off work for 20 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 70 percent”?
    • The statistics were taken from a joint position statement between the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Consensus Statement on the Benefits of returning to work. This states that work plays an important role in any rehabilitation process because 'doing' promotes recovery. If a person is off work for:
      • 20 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 70 per cent
      • 45 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 50 per cent
      • 70 days, the chance of ever getting back to work is 35 per cent.
        • Details of this can be found on our website.
  • Does WorkCover pay for the service providers through the claim? For example, if a worker needs vocational counselling?
    • Services provided by occupational therapists during a claim such as vocational assessments, functional capacity evaluations, worksite assessments and suitable duties programs are all covered under the claim and form part of the overall claims costs.

More information

Planning a return to work

Benefits of returning to work

Recover at Work (RAW)

For more information, please contact your Relationship Manager, or call 1300 362 128.