Return to work programs: Information for employers

This fact sheet explains return to work programs, employer obligations under NSW law and the resources available to help.

The Guidelines for workplace return to work programs (guidelines) were updated and issued by SIRA in November 2019. The Guidelines contain information and requirements that employers in NSW are required to meet.

Your RTW obligations

There are certain requirements every employer must do when it comes to workers compensation, injury management and workplace safety in NSW:

  1. You must provide information about how a worker can notify an injury and make a claim for workers compensation. You can do this by using the ‘If you get injured at work’ poster within the workplace (this could be displayed physically in the workplace or electronically on your organisations intranet).
  2. Have a RTW program for your workplace.
  3. If a worker is injured at work you must:
    1. ensure they are provided first aid and appropriate care.
    2. notify your insurer of any injury or illness within 48 hours.
    3. notify SafeWork NSW immediately on 13 10 50 if the injury is serious.
  4. Record any work related injury or illness in your register of injuries.
  5. Take steps to help your worker recover at work. This includes communicating with your worker, their doctor and your insurer.

There are other requirements you have to fulfil depending on the type of employer you are. See below to find out which requirements apply to you.

Category one employers

Category one employers meet one of the following criteria. They:

  • have a basic tariff premium over $50,000 a year
  • are self-insured
  • are insured by a specialised insurer and have over 20 employees.

The guidelines help category one employers to develop a RTW program in accordance with the legislation.

You must have a tailored RTW program for your workplace within 12 months of becoming a category one employer. You can use the ‘Return to work program checklist for Category 1 employers’ to check if you are on the right track.

You must appoint a RTW coordinator with the relevant training, skills and experience to carry out the day-to-day duties of the RTW program.

Category two employers

A category two employer is any employer who is not a category one employer.

Category two employers can meet their obligations by adopting or customising the SIRA standard return to work program or developing their own RTW program based on this.

How we can help

SIRA provides free advice and has a range of programs to help you meet your workers compensation obligations and assist your workers to recover at work.


Use the links below for further information to help you manage your workplace RTW obligations: