You don’t need to be fully recovered or have finished injury rehabilitation to return to work. In fact, achieving complete recovery can sometimes take months, much longer than the time you take off work.
While going straight back into work after an injury isn’t always easy, but it is good for improving mental health and wellbeing. Long term absence from the work due to injury can increase the chances of feelings of depression, helplessness, and frustration. In some cases, the longer you stay away from work in any capacity may decrease the chances of ever returning.
It’s important to understand that there are many complex variables that can affect an individual’s ability to return to work after an injury. However, if your employer works closely with you to develop a gradual return to work, the long-term prospects of sustainable work greatly increase.
If you suffered an Injury
As an injured worker, while recovery is the priority, thinking about returning to work, even in a reduced capacity, should be a close second. This is because returning to work can:
- Enhance the recovery process
- Boost your self-esteem and identity within the workplace or community
- Increase social participation and feelings of fulfilment
- Reduce the adverse physical, psychological, social, and financial effects of absenteeism
- Reduce the chance of self-harm and suicide
We encourage you to stay in contact with your employer, as open communication is beneficial for both parties.
A Return to Work Program
The Workers’ Compensation Code of Practice (Injury Management) 2005 explains the requirements of establishment, content and implementation of Return to Work Programs.
Each Return to Work Program must include:
- the business name and the injured worker’s name
- a clear description of the program’s goal
- the intended actions to enable the worker to return to work and who is responsible for taking each action
- a statement showing the worker agrees to the content of the program.
At the very least the program’s content must meet the Worker’s Compensation Code of Practice (Injury Management 2005). There is flexibility allowing your employer to include additional arrangements to suit your circumstances. For example, it could include details on alternative duties, vocational training (should your injury inhibit your ability to perform your current role, and possible host employers should your employer be unable to accommodate a return to work).
How do Return to Work programs help?
A well thought out program can be helpful after workplace injury incidences, as it can help minimise the risk of re-injury. It will allow you to return to work gradually, slowly building up your workload until you achieve the full roles and responsibilities you previously held.
Contact the Soul Legal Team
Our experienced worker’s compensation lawyers in Perth, Baldivis, and Osborne Park, WA, will work with you to ensure your return to work is smooth and stress-free.
If you have suffered a workplace injury and need some advice, don’t hesitate to reach out. We offer a free no-obligation claim assessment, along with a no-win-no-fee service if we consider your claim worth pursuing.
Director / Partner Soul Legal