Return to work plan

For complex claims, the insurer may appoint a vocational rehabilitation provider who will assist in developing the plan, otherwise, the insurer may be able to provide the employer with a template to assist in the development of the plan.

If a vocational rehabilitation provider is not appointed, then the employer must develop the return to work plan.

What is a return to work plan?

The return to work plan assists injured workers in returning to work after injury. Although workers may have medical restrictions and may be unable to perform their pre-injury jobs, they can often do modified or alternate work while recovering.

The plan formalises suitable employment offered by the employer in line with the injured workers medical certificate of capacity.

It is designed to make clear what the worker can and cannot do when they return to work, and when this will be reviewed.

The employer should not speculate, make assumptions and / or presume a doctor’s role. Regard should be had to the injured worker's medical certificate of capacity. Any medical restrictions should be taken into account.

It is extremely important that the employer works in collaboration with the injured worker when developing the plan. For a successful return to work the injured worker should be consulted and their input included in the plan.

Physical restrictions, suitable duties, hours worked, supervision arrangements must be clearly outlined in the plan and must be regularly monitored and reviewed. Treatment times and dates may need to be considered in the plan.

The plan must be developed and agreed to by the worker and the employer and both must sign the plan.

Return to work plan flowchart

  • Step 1​Employer develops a return to work plan
    ​Employer consults with worker
    ​Step 2​Plan and implement the worker's return to work and provide suitable or pre-injury employment that is consistent with the workers certificate of capacity
    • ​Obtain relevant information
    • Consult with worker
    • Consider reasonable workplace support, aids and modifications
    • Assess and propose options for suitable or pre-injury employment consistent with the workers certificate of capacity
    • Provide clear, accurate and current details to the worker about the return to work plan
    • Seek to reach agreement
    Step 3​Support and monitor the worker and the return to work arrangements
    ​Revise planning regularly, returning to step 2
    Step 4​Progress the return to work arrangements
    ​Step 5​Full return to work, where possible

Related Forms and Resources

Return to work plans (RTWP)
Return to work proposal