A return to work coordinator is responsible for the implementation of an organisation’s return to work program.
The return to work coordinator is responsible for implementing an organisation's return to work program and supporting workers as they recover at work. They are a key link between the worker and their support team as they recover.
Return to work coordinators may assist a worker to recover at work who has lodged a workers compensation claim, motor accident or a non-compensable injury, for example, sporting injury.
Who needs a return to work coordinator?
Employers whose basic tariff premium exceeds $50,000 annually, employers who are self-insured, or employers insured by a specialised insurer who employ more than 20 workers (category one employers) must have a return to work coordinator.
As a category one employer, you must appoint someone with the relevant training, skills and experience to perform the role and functions of a return to work coordinator.
Your return to work (RTW) program must outline the return to work coordinator's role in recovery at work planning and managing workers with a work related injury or illness. These duties must include:
- compiling the initial notification information
- coordinating the worker's recovery at work, including identifying suitable work
- preparing, monitoring and reviewing a worker's recover at work plan
- liaising with the worker's support team
- supporting the redeployment of workers (internally or externally) into suitable work when they cannot return to their pre-injury duties
- keeping confidential case notes and records in line with laws and guidelines
- implementing the RTW program
- keeping injury and recover at work statistics
- promoting the health benefits of good work
- contributing to the improvement of relevant policies and systems.
A complete list of the responsibilities of the return to work coordinator within the worker compensation system is outlined in the guidelines for workplace return to work programs.
Employers must retain evidence of their return to work coordinator's relevant qualifications.
Existing return to work coordinators meet the role's training and experience requirement if they hold any of the following:
- a certificate certifying attendance at the SIRA (or previously WorkCover) two-day course: 'Introduction to return to work coordination', or
- a certificate certifying attendance at a two-day WorkCover training course for rehabilitation coordinators conducted prior to February 1995, or
- a letter from SIRA (or previously WorkCover) agreeing to exempt them from participating in the above training.
SIRA will develop online training modules to help you support return to work coordination competencies.
Training courses will continue to be available until the SIRA online modules are made available.
Return to work coordinators who work for employers who have updated their RTW program to comply with the guidelines for workplace return to work programs published in May 2017 do not need to seek exemption from the return to work coordinator training requirements.
Return to work coordinators who work for employers who have not updated their RTW program and are seeking an exemption from the training requirement will need to request exemptions from SIRA for the training requirements outlined in the 2010 version of the guidelines.
Category two employers do not need to appoint a return to work coordinator, but they should nominate someone to manage any workers compensation and recovery at work activities that arise.
Return to work coordinators need to liaise with the worker's support team to help coordinate the worker's recovery at work. When dealing with a worker's health information, a return to work coordinator should consider the appropriate privacy principles.
Your RTW program must include confidentiality and record keeping procedures for your workplace.
You should obtain the worker's consent to exchange information through either the certificate of capacity or a signed consent form.
SIRA has developed a standard consent form to assist employers when they request worker consent to obtain information.