A return to work (RTW) coordinator is the person appointed by an employer who is responsible for the implementation of an organisation’s return to work program.
The RTW coordinator is responsible for implementing an organisation's return to work program, supporting workers as they recover at work and assisting employers to meet their obligations as required under workers compensation legislation. The RTW coordinator is a key link between the worker and their support team as they recover.
RTW coordinators may help a worker with a workers compensation or motor accident claim, or a non-compensable injury (eg sporting injury), to recover at work.
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 are category one employers and 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.
Category two employers are those who are not category one as described above. Category two employers do not need a RTW coordinator, but they should nominate someone to manage any workers compensation and recovery at work activities that arise.
Your RTW program must outline the RTW 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 RTW coordinator within the worker compensation system is outlined in the guidelines for workplace return to work programs.
Employers must appoint a RTW coordinator who has the relevant training, skills and experience to perform the role and functions of a RTW coordinator for their organisation. Employers must determine whether their appointed RTW coordinator meets the relevant requirements to perform the role. Employers must also retain evidence of the RTW coordinator's relevant training, skills and experience.
SIRA has free online training to help your RTW coordinator understand their role in supporting recovery at work.
If you are a category two employer, the person you nominate to manage any workers compensation and recovery at work activities may also find this training useful.
RTW 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 draft standard consent form to assist employers when they request worker consent to obtain information.
Return to work coordinators may participate in a case conference with the nominated treating doctor and other parties to assist in recovery at work planning. Case conference are separate to the workers medical consultation, unless otherwise agreed by the worker and nominated treating doctor.