The New South Wales Government has introduced a mandatory ‘return to work’ program for sick and injured workers.
The program, implemented through government-backed Insurance and Care NSW (icare), will formalise policies for companies in instances where their employees have become sick or injured.
Return to Work plans are designed to be specific to each individual worker’s circumstances in order to aid their return to the workplace, with an emphasis on early and regular contact between the employer and the worker.
Beth Ueling, icare group executive personal injury claims said that for injured workers who spend more than three months away from work, their chances of returning are “much reduced”, adding that the social isolation of these circumstances could also delay recovery.
“Staying in close contact with a worker who has been injured can be beneficial for both of you — it lets the worker know what you’ll do to help them recover at work and allows you to outline your reasonable expectations around their level of involvement and cooperation throughout the recovery and injury management process,” she said.
Ueling added that it was beneficial for employer to try and find alternative work for injured workers if possible to provide the “best chance of a good outcome”.