Return to work process for claimants
If you have sustained a work-related injury or illness, your employer is responsible for managing your recovery and return to work.
There are seven steps to the return to work process.
The process explained
This is a short overview of the typical return to work process in the Comcare scheme.
Step 1 – Notification of injury
You should notify your supervisor as soon as you experience an accident, injury or illness – whether you intend to make a workers’ compensation claim or not.
Your supervisor discusses your immediate needs with you and takes steps to prevent further injury or illness.
Step 2 – Contact with a rehabilitation case manager
Once your supervisor has been made aware of your injury, they should notify a rehabilitation case manager within your organisation.
The rehabilitation case manager should contact you to discuss:
- your injury
- your return to work needs
- any potential barriers.
Step 3 – Assessing your need for rehabilitation services
Your rehabilitation case manager decides whether you need an assessment for a rehabilitation program.
You may not need a rehabilitation assessment if you only have minor restrictions or if your medical practitioner says you are fit to return to work. If this happens, your medical practitioner must provide clear medical guidance on your capacity for work.
If you ask for a rehabilitation assessment, your rehabilitation case manager must organise one for you.
Step 4 – Rehabilitation assessment
If you need a rehabilitation assessment, or you have requested one, your rehabilitation case manager chooses an appropriate assessor. This may be a:
- medical practitioner
- suitably qualified person, such as a workplace rehabilitation provider, or
- a panel of people.
Your rehabilitation case manager provides the assessor with information about your circumstances. This may include:
- medical reports
- details of your pre-injury employment
- a schedule of questions to be answered.
If you have been asked to attend a rehabilitation assessment, you must do so, unless you have a reasonable excuse for failing or refusing to attend.
Step 5 – Return to work planning
Your rehabilitation case manager decides whether you need a rehabilitation program to help you return to, or recover at, work. A rehabilitation program outlines the support and services you need to return to work quickly and safely.
If a workplace rehabilitation provider has been engaged, they may consult with you, your medical practitioner and supervisor to develop a rehabilitation plan. This plan must be reviewed by your rehabilitation case manager.
Everyone should be given a copy of the plan and should clearly understand what is involved and what their respective roles and responsibilities are.
Step 6 – Monitoring your progress
You, the rehabilitation case manager, your treating medical practitioner and workplace rehabilitation provider (if one has been engaged) monitor and review the rehabilitation plan and how you are progressing.
Your supervisor is responsible for providing support to implement the program and for providing feedback to the rehabilitation case manager.
Step 7 – Closing the rehabilitation program
When all the objectives of your rehabilitation program have been achieved, or current rehabilitation goals are no longer achievable and a new rehabilitation program is needed, the program is closed.
Closing a rehabilitation program does not stop rehabilitation services being provided in the future if your circumstances change.
For more information on these steps, see our Rehabilitation Case Manager handbook (PDF, 658.3 KB).
If you are an employer, see the steps in the return to work process for employers.