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Returning to work after injury

3 minute read

Workers' compensation

If you’ve suffered an injury or illness at work, you may be unsure of what to do next.

There is help available to support your recovery, both through a potential workers compensation claim and your employers’ obligation to aid your return to the workplace.

Injured at work: what do I do?

If you’ve suffered a workplace injury or illness, you are not alone — approximately 4.2% of Australian workers are affected by injury or illness annually.

In their most recent release on work-related injuries, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 563,000 Australians suffered a workplace injury or illness in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Of those injured or ill, 27% made successful workers' compensation claims.

After an injury, your number one priority should be your health — seek medical treatment and report your injury to your employer. Once you’re on the road to recovery, you can begin to plan your return to the workplace.

Time off to recover: will my workplace allow this?

As long as your workplace is fully informed of your injury and your accident, they are obligated to allow you the time to recover and get better. Your doctor should provide you an estimate of how long you’ll need off work, which you should share with your employer.

It’s recommended you remain in regular contact with your employer about your condition, as well as so you can discuss your eventual return-to-work plan.

What are the steps to take to return to work after an injury?

How long you should wait before returning to work depends on factors like the severity of your injury or illness as well as your role and responsibilities. Before returning to work you should:

  1. See your doctor: They will advise you as to when you should return to work and whether you will need to reduce your workload and/or change your duties.

  2. Speak to your employer: Your employer is required to ensure your return to work is undertaken safely. Depending on your condition and the advice of your doctor, they may be able to lighten your responsibilities or alter your hours. Consider your capacity to complete the requirements of the job and any workplace changes, such as working from home, that may benefit you. Your employer may put together a “return to work” plan outlining your duties, specific recommendations and other relevant information.

What if I am unable to return work after an injury?

A severe workplace injury or illness can mean that physically or mentally you are no longer able to perform your job to the same pre-injury capacity, or even at all. In the event you are not able to return to your job or suitable employment with your current employer, the workers' compensation body in your state may:

  • arrange for you to do some retraining, allowing you to change roles or learn a new job.

  • help you find a safe, suitable and sustainable job with a new employer that will accommodate your capabilities.

If you’re able to return to work after injury, it can have some positive impacts on your well-being. You may also find your recovery time is shorter than expected by returning to work in a safe and supervised way.

Contact Shine Lawyers

Shine Lawyers has more than 45 years experience when it comes to representing injured workers claim the compensation they deserve.

To support your recovery, our team of experts can help you access Workers' Compensation or your superannuation insurance entitlements on a No Win No Fee* basis.

If you’d like our legal advice on your situation and any potential claim, contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation chat with one of our experts.

*Conditions apply

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