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Health benefits of work

There is compelling evidence that, in general, work is good for health and wellbeing. Conversely, the evidence also says long-term work absence, work disability and unemployment can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.

Practically applying an understanding of the health benefits of safe work can further support an injured worker to stay at or return to work as soon as it is safe to do so. The evidence also supports the value of returning to or staying at work as part of a person's rehabilitation and not just as the end point of rehabilitation.

The Australian Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work highlights compelling international and Australasian evidence of the health benefits of safe work. It also brings together a wide range of stakeholder signatories, including Comcare, who recognise the importance of work as a determinant of a person's health.

Work absence tends to perpetuate itself. The longer someone is off work, the less likely they become ever to return. If the 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.


Medical practitioners play a key role in supporting an injured worker's recovery and return to work by assessing and certifying work capacity.

The certificate of capacity is a key communication tool in the return to work process.

Providing complete and accurate information on the certificate of capacity, such as the worker's sitting/standing tolerances and driving ability, will make sure everyone involved in the return to work process understands and knows how to support the worker's requirements.

Page last updated: 24 Dec 2015