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Steps in the return to work process
The supervisor becomes aware of an injury and discusses this with the employee. Make sure steps are taken to prevent further injury.
The supervisor notifies the case manager as early as possible that an employee is injured or ill.
The case manager decides whether an assessment for a return to work (RTW) program is needed (s. 36 assessment). The triggers for such an assessment are listed on the rehabilitation assessment page.
If an assessment is needed, the case manager follows Step 4.
If an assessment is not needed, the case manager initiates RTW planning based on medical advice and in consultation with the employee and supervisor—see Step 5.
The case manager initiates the assessment process:
- refer to a Approved rehabilitation provider (ARP), legally qualified medical practitioner or panel for assessment and complete the Referral for rehabilitation assessment form
- facilitate the completion of a Suitable duties form
- discuss with the doctor what work the injured employee is capable of
- coordinate the RTW process and communicate regularly with all parties.
The case manager decides whether a rehabilitation program (s. 37) is needed to help the employee back to work. If a program is required, a RTW plan is developed to outline the steps, workplace arrangements and/or rehabilitation services to help the injured employee to return to work quickly and safely.
When developing the RTW plan, the case manager may engage an ARP or develop a plan themselves.
The RTW plan is formulated in consultation with the injured employee, treating doctor, supervisors and, if applicable, with the assistance of an ARP. The case manager approves the plan.
Make sure all parties:
- understand what is involved in the RTW plan
- are clear about their respective roles and responsibilities in achieving the plan
- are provided with a copy of the RTW plan.
The case manager, ARP (if applicable) and doctor monitor and review how the RTW plan is being implemented.
The supervisor provides support to implement the program in the workplace and provides feedback to the case manager on how things are going.
If amendments to the plan are needed, make sure a Return to work plan—Amendment form is completed and signed. Make sure all parties are given a copy of the completed form.
When the employee has returned to work the case manager agrees to close the plan and all parties sign the Return to work plan—Closure form. The case manager makes sure all parties are given a copy of the completed form.