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Glossary of Rehabilitation and Return to Work Definitions

Many and varied terms are used in relation to the topic of rehabilitation. An agreed and consistent use of terminology helps to create a unified, scheme wide common language.


Early intervention

To provide employees with assistance as soon as possible after an injury or illness, regardless of any workers’ compensation claim.

Case manager

An employee who coordinates and manages the rehabilitation of employees, also referred to as the rehabilitation case manager.

Approved rehabilitation provider

The workplace rehabilitation provider (WRP) was formerly known as an approved rehabilitation provider (ARP). These terms may be interchangeable.

Rehabilitation assessment

An assessment under section 36 of the SRC Act of an employee’s capability of undertaking, or continuing to undertake, a rehabilitation program.

Rehabilitation authority

This is the principal officer of the organisation employing the injured employee at the time of workplace rehabilitation. If an organisation is an exempt authority, Comcare is the rehabilitation authority.

Rehabilitation program

Program developed under section 37 of the SRC Act. It is a structured series of activities and assistance to maintain or return an employee in suitable employment, and maintain or improve an employee’s activities of daily living. A rehabilitation program may include a return to work schedule/plan which details the employee’s hours, days, tasks and limitations etc.

Return to work

Used to describe the goal (following an injury/illness) to return an employee to suitable employment, for example, return to pre-injury job. Return to work may also include maintenance at work.

Suitable employment

The definition of suitable employment varies depending on the injured employee’s circumstances and the nature of employment. Usually, suitable employment is employment within the organisation the employee works for. If the employee has left the organisation, then suitable employment is any employment.

Suitable duties

Suitable duties are those appropriate to the employee’s capabilities, skills and experience, and take into consideration medical limitations and restrictions.

Workplace rehabilitation

A managed process involving early intervention with appropriate, adequate and timely services based on assessed needs which are aimed at maintaining injured or ill employees in, or returning them to, suitable employment.

Workplace rehabilitation plan

The provision of appropriate services which are aimed at maintaining the employee in, or returning them to, suitable employment. (see also rehabilitation program).

Workplace rehabilitation model

A set of agreed principles, features and processes to achieve better rehabilitation practice.

Workplace rehabilitation provider (WRP)

A person or organisation providing rehabilitation services to help employees with work-related injuries to be maintained in or return to work. WRPs must be approved by Comcare.

Page last updated: 08 Dec 2016