Workers compensation bulletin - issue 24

In this edition: updated guidelines for workplace RTW programs released, understanding section 39 and its impact on workers, and nominations are open for this year's SafeWork NSW Awards.

Updated Guidelines for workplace RTW programs released

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has updated the Guidelines for workplace return to work programs (guidelines).

Following extensive stakeholder consultation, the updated guidelines come into effect on 31 May 2017 and replace the version released in 2010.

Employers should update their return to work (RTW) program to ensure it complies with these guidelines at the next scheduled review. All RTW programs must comply with these guidelines within two years from the date of effect, but in the interim must meet the requirements of the 2010 Guidelines.

The updated guidelines are the result of an extensive review and public consultation process to ensure the final document:

  • provides consistent, relevant and accessible information
  • reduces regulatory burden
  • improves customer experience
  • delivers improved recovery at work outcomes.

The updated guidelines will support, inform and guide employers and other stakeholders in the development of an effective workplace return to work (RTW) program. Learn more about the changes and how they affect you on the SIRA website.

Understanding section 39 and its impact on workers

Information is available to help you understand section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and how it impacts affected workers.

Section 39 provides that weekly payments are available for a maximum (aggregate) of 260 weeks (five years). This applies unless the worker has been assessed as having a permanent impairment of more than 20 per cent.

This is the first year payments will cease as a result of this legislation.

Workers affected by section 39 need to be informed about how this applies to them.

Please refer to our website when communicating around the application of section 39.

Do you know a standout 'recover at work' example?

Entries are open for this year's SafeWork NSW Awards in the recovery at work category.

If you know an individual or business that is innovative or just downright committed when it comes to recovery at work, tell them to enter. By encouraging those that excel to enter, you are recognising them for the leaders they are.

As last year's award winner Chris May says, “Life doesn’t stop and wait for you to get better.”

Chris was able to recover at work with the help of his employer and family after a terrible accident resulted in serious injuries to his face.

Chris returned to his role, bent on ensuring no one else would experience such an injury and for his efforts he earned a nod across the industry.

Hear more from Chris May and other winners.

Entries close July 21. Enter now or find out more by visiting or calling 02 4321 4444.