Working after your injury can help you get better quicker. It helps you get back to your usual activities and routines while you’re recovering.
COVID-19 update: SIRA has introduced a number of changes to help medical, allied health practitioners and injured people during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
- Telehealth services so that treatment consultations can occur via video or over the telephone
- Find out more information about the changes to certification for motor accidents
See your doctor
The health information below is for general educational purposes only. Always consult your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you.
Why recover at work?
The NSW Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme focuses on supporting people to get back to their normal activities, including work, after a motor accident injury.
Work helps you stay active and is an important part of your recovery.
Recovering at work may mean:
- continuing your normal job and attending treatment appointments before or after work
- doing the same job with different hours
- modified duties
- a different job, at the same workplace or a different workplace
- a training opportunity
- a combination of these options.
Did you know?
- the longer you’re away from work, the harder it can be to get back to work
- work helps you stay active and is an important part of your recovery
- staying active helps to reduce pain
- being at work is an opportunity to connect with people and be part of a community
- working provides financial security
- taking a long time off work is worse for you socially, emotionally and physically
- research shows that work promotes recovery and reduces the risk of long term disability and work loss.
How to recover at work
These strategies will help you whether you were working up to the motor accident or not.
- Focus on what you can do and talk to your doctor and your employer about what you can do safely
- Look into the supports you can get to help you recover at work
- Ask your support team (for example, your doctor or insurer) if you have questions (click on the recovery at work support tab above to learn more)
- Monitor your pain levels - remember some increase in pain during activity does not mean that you are making things worse.
- Think about what tasks and jobs you can do if you can’t do your usual tasks or job.
- If you have a job, stay in touch with your employer and the people you work with – there may be training opportunities you can take while you’re recovering.
What you should do
You should take reasonable steps to recover following your motor accident injury.
A recovery plan sets out your injury management and recovery. If the insurer asks you to, you must participate in its development and then follow the actions set out in the plan.
Certificate of capacity/certificate of fitness
Make sure that your Certificate of Capacity / Certificate of Fitness is current and your insurer has a copy. The Certificate of Capacity / Certificate of Fitness is issued by your GP and is valid for up to 28 days. Keep it up to date as your insurer may not be able to make payments without a current certificate.
Watch this short video to find out more about the certificate of capacity/certificate of fitness.
Talk to your employer and the insurer
If you are working, or were working up till the motor accident, talk to your employer about what you can do at work and start planning for your recovery at work as early as possible. You should discuss:
- suitable work options
- any barriers or risks to your recovery and whether workplace modifications or equipment could be helpful (click on the recovery at work support tab above to learn more)
- your recovery plan
- your progress.
If your employer needs assistance with any of these, your insurer can arrange a workplace rehabilitation provider. Your employer also may be eligible for incentives to help them support your recovery at work.
To learn more about workplace rehabilitation providers, see the who can help me recover at work? tab above.
If you are not working, talk to your insurer about getting support to get job-ready or get a new job.
You have a team of people supporting your recovery and a range of programs available to help you recover at, or return, to work.
Your insurer will assign a case manager to coordinate your claim. They are your main point of contact for payment enquiries and medical treatment and expenses.
The insurer case manager:
- is in regular contact with you, your doctor, treatment providers and, where appropriate, your employer
- authorises and arranges payment for medical and related expenses and vocational programs (where appropriate)
- determines your entitlement to personal injury benefits, including compensation for lost income
- helps your employer to support your recovery at work
- arranges assessments or services to help determine your capacity / fitness for work
- is available throughout your claim to discuss your needs, barriers or issues that may impact on your recovery.
Your doctor’s role is to support and optimise your recovery.
You choose your treating doctor. It might be your GP or it might be a specialist.
Your doctor will:
- assess, diagnose, and treat your injury
- advise on medical treatment
- advise you on your capacity for work (and fill out the Certificate of Capacity / Certificate of Fitness)
- provide information to the insurer case manager to assist in managing your claim and your recovery
- where appropriate, help you and your employer (and other members of your support team) with your recovery at work.
Your employer may have a return to work coordinator. If so, this person is one of the people you will have the most contact with.
Return to work coordinators:
- will work with you and your supervisor
- help coordinate your recovery at work
- are a key link between you and the rest of your support team
- are your main contacts regarding your recovery at work progress and any issues you have at work
- can organise workplace modifications or equipment to help you recover.
If your employer does not have a return to work coordinator there should be someone else who is responsible for recovery at work at your workplace.
It's your employer's responsibility to know if they are required to have a return to work coordinator.
Your doctor may certify you as fit to work straight after the injury, or you might need some time off before you go back to work.
When you go back to work:
- you may be fine to do the same work you did before
- you may be able to do the same job as before, but need to do reduced hours or need special equipment to do the job
- or you may be fine to work but need to do different work.
You and your employer can work together to ensure your recovery at work is successful. Your employer may also be eligible for incentives that can help them support your recovery at work.
The insurer may also be able to provide a workplace rehabilitation provider to help you and your employer. You can learn more by clicking on workplace rehabilitation provider below.
Workplace rehabilitation providers can assist you to recover at work by designing a plan after consulting with you, your employer, your doctor and the insurer.
They are health professionals like occupational therapists, physiotherapists, rehabilitation counsellors and psychologists.
- assess your workplace and review your duties
- identify ways to help you recover at work
- advise about work options if you are unable to recover at work with your pre-injury employer.
You can speak with the insurer to refer you to a workplace rehabilitation provider. Or you can find a workplace rehabilitation provider here.
We regulate the NSW workers compensation and CTP systems.
Our job is to make sure these systems provide the best possible outcomes while remaining affordable and sustainable in the long term.
Our role includes:
- supervising insurers so they comply with legislation and understand their obligations
- educating workers about their rights and responsibilities
- supervising service providers so that workers receive effective treatment to enable recovery at work
- making programs and incentives available to support recovery at work.
Visit our contact us page for our phone, email and feedback details.
The Transition to Work program helps pay for immediate or short-term costs that might prevent a worker from starting work with a new employee
This program can be used to address a financial barrier that is preventing workers from accessing new employment.
What do I need to do? Provide evidence of the financial barrier preventing you from accepting the offer of employment. Then submit your application to the insurer using the vocational program details from vocational program details form.
This program provides funding of up to:
- $200 to help you job-seek or start work
- $5,000 to address immediate or short term barriers that prevent you from accepting an offer of new employment.
This program can be used to address a financial barrier that is preventing you accessing new employment.
You need to provide evidence of the financial barrier and send an application to the insurer.
The funding could be used to pay for a range of things, including clothing, travel costs or child care arrangements.
The SIRA guide for CTP vocational support, especially pages 17-19, has more information on eligibility and applying, or talk to your CTP insurer.
The JobCover Placement program (JCPP) funds up to $27,400 in incentives for employers to employ a worker with a motor accident injury
For employers who have employed workers using the JobCover Placement Program (JCPP) but need to scale back / close their workplaces temporarily due to the impact of COVID-19, the duration of the JCPP for the worker will be increased to accommodate that period of change.
What do I need to do?
Employers should keep a record of the period of changed operations to support their claim for the incentive payments as their business re-opens along with the usual proof of payment of wages to the worker.
Re-negotiate the new end date of the JCPP agreement with the employer/worker/ insurer when known and submit the amended agreement form to the insurer.
What is it?
This program is designed to help you secure ongoing employment with a new employer. To encourage an employer to offer you a job, incentive payments for up to 12 months will be available for an eligible employer.
Incentive payments increase according to the length of time you remain employed:
- up to $400 per week for first 12 weeks (maximum of $4,800)
- up to $500 per week for next 14 weeks (maximum $7,000)
- up to $600 per week for next 26 weeks (maximum $15,600).
For employers who have employed workers using this program but need to scale back or close their workplaces due to the impact of COVID-19, the duration of the program for the worker will be increased to accommodate that period of change.
Employers should keep a record of the period of changed operations to support their claim for the incentive payments as their business re-opens, along with the usual proof of payment of wages to the worker.
Employers should renegotiate the new end-date of the JCPP agreement with the worker/insurer when known, and submit the CTP vocational support program application form to the insurer.
The SIRA guide for CTP vocational support, especially pages 12-16, has more information on eligibility and applying
The JobCover6 Placement program (JCPP) is a 6-month program that funds up to $10,400 in incentives for employers to employ a person recovering from a motor vehicle accident
What is it?
JobCover6 helps people locate suitable work where ongoing employment cannot be confirmed with a new employer during the COVID-19 period. JobCover6 program has similarities to a JobCover Placement Program and is to support employers to offer employment for up to a 6-month duration. This program has been developed in recognition of the economic and business impacts of COVID-19 and can be accessed during this period.
JobCover6 provides incentives to a new employer to help offset the costs of engaging and training a new worker and provides up to $400 per week for 6 months (maximum of $10,400).
The JobCover6 provides the following incentives to eligible new employers, to assist a person to recover at work after a motor vehicle accident:
- incentive payments of up to $10,400 for up to 6 months
- protection against the costs of changes to the existing injury for up to two years.
You are eligible if you:
- have capacity for work and are looking for new employment.
- are receiving, or are entitled to receive, weekly benefits under the Motor Accidents Injury Act 2017 or just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic you were engaged in suitable work with your pre-accident employer.
- haven’t accepted a damages settlement.
An employer may be eligible if they:
- have offered employment for an agreed period
- hold a current workers compensation policy with an insurer or a self-insurer’s licence
If you believe this program may assist you with returning to work, speak with your CTP insurer by completing the CTP vocational support program application form.
The SIRA guide for CTP vocational support has more information on eligibility and applying.
The Recover at Work Assist program helps you stay at your current job by providing incentives to your employer while you recover at work
If a small business using the Recovery at work assist program for a worker on a recovery at work plan scales back/closes due to the impact of of COVID-19, the period of the program remaining can be resumed, once the period of changed business operations is over and the worker returns to work on their upgrading plan.
What do I need to do? Update the CTP vocational support program application form with the amended dates when known and submit to the insurer.
The SIRA guide for CTP vocational support, especially pages 9-11, has more information on eligibility and applying, or talk to your CTP insurer.
Training can help you develop new skills and qualifications to keep your job or get a new one. As part of your statutory benefits, you may be eligible for support to undertake training.
The SIRA guide for CTP vocational support, especially pages 5-6, has more information on getting support for training, or talk to your CTP insurer.
Workplace equipment or modifications may help you remain at work or commence work with a new employer. As part of your statutory benefits, you may be eligible for equipment or workplace modifications.
The SIRA guide for CTP vocational support, especially pages 6-7, has more information on getting support for training, or talk to your CTP insurer.