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Rehabilitation management system - Employee consultation

Why is this important?

Rehabilitation efforts need to be supported by an environment of openness and trust. The establishment of a policy framework and systems for rehabilitation must involve employees.

Involving employees or their representatives (including health and safety representatives and union representatives) in the development and review of an organisation’s rehabilitation management system recognises the investment of staff in effective return to work systems and practices. It also ensures that the management system is responsive to the needs of this stakeholder group.

The extent to which employees feel that they have had a meaningful 'voice' in discussions over rehabilitation issues will influence their attitude towards and support of the organisation's rehabilitation processes.

This is a requirement under s. 41(2) of the SRC Act and the Rehabilitation Guidelines for Employers (the s. 41 guidelines).

To consult is to appropriately inform employees and to invite and consider their response prior to making a decision. Employees' opinions should not be assumed. Sufficient action must be taken to secure employees' responses and give their views proper attention. Consultation requires more than an exchange of information. Employees must be contributing to the decision-making process, not only in appearance but in fact.

Consultation should involve:

  • sharing information with employees on the matter on which the employer is required to consult
  • giving employees a reasonable opportunity to express their views and concerns about the matter
  • taking those views into account and reporting back to employees, including on how their views have been taken into account in making the final decision.

Consultation does not mean handing out papers, telling employees about a decision or action on a health and safety matter after it has been implemented, or simply ascertaining the views of employees.

Page last updated: 04 Nov 2013