Every employee or worker is entitled to the protection and support of a WorkCover compensation claim. This includes ordinary employees, contractors, couriers, and volunteers. As an employer, you are responsible, first and foremost, for attempting to avoid workplace injuries by providing your employees with a safe place to work. Nobody wants accidents and injuries to happen in their workplace. When an injury does occur, it can be a little confusing as to what your responsibilities are. The return of an employee after a WorkCover compensations claim to productive roles in the workforce is very important. And the return to work is a responsibility shared by management and employees.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE ARE:
- Employers have a legal obligation to get their workers back to their pre-injury role under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003
- Employers should provide workers with pre-injury employment or equivalent when they have returned to full capacity
Initially, a worker might return on a part time basis or in a role with different requirements to get them back at work sooner, with the end goal of them returning to their pre-injury employment as their recovery progresses. The more time that an employee is out of the workplace, the harder their eventual return will be, so it is important both employee and employer work together to get the employee back as soon as possible (without jeopardizing the employee’s recovery).
Once the employee is back in their pre-injury role, their terms and conditions of employment become governed by the regular industrial instruments and standards that govern the workplace. When an employee returns to work after being injured, if the employee receives wages equal to or greater than he or she was earning before the injury, then it is likely workers' compensation benefits will be stopped. If, however, the employee is still experiencing a payment loss due to his or her injury, he or she may continue to receive wage loss benefits, although the benefits will most likely be for a lesser amount.
As an employer, it is important you get the work injury process right to support your injured workers, increase productivity, keep your Workcover premiums down and stay within the law. It’s important that employers consider all legal risks and handle the situation appropriately.