Guide to suitable duties

store based

A suitable duties plan is a graduated work program that helps workers improve their work fitness. Your employee may not be able to return to duties in their pre-injury capacity however it is important that the employee returns to work in some capacity. WorkCover can help you in devising a plan and will oversee the plan throughout the life of the claim and will liase with all parties, (employer, worker, treating doctor and allied health providers). The tasks and hours in the plan are often increased during the program as the worker recovers.

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
  • the earlier they return to work proves a much better outcome.

As their employer, you should talk to your worker about their return to work and what they think they can do and work together. 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.

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.

There are a range of suitable duties across the various sectors of the retail industry. The examples listed below may assist you in devising a return to work plan based on your worker's limitations and capacity.


Last updated
20 November 2014