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Employer obligations

Employers required to appoint a coordinator

 

Effective 17 October 2013, employers who pay annual wages of more than $7,124,520 (5200 times QOTE) for the preceding financial year, or are in a high risk industry with wages of more than $3,562,260 (2600 times QOTE), must appoint a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator.

 

The thresholds of $7,124,520 and $3,562,260 have been lifted from the previous levels of $7,049,000 and $2,146,000 respectively.

 

For high risk industries this requirement equals approximately 50 workers earning average ordinary time wages, and in other industries approximately 100 workers earning average ordinary times wages.

 

The appointment process for a coordinator

 

Recent changes to legislation mean that rehabilitation and return to work coordinators no longer need to be registered to carry out their roles. In addition, rehabilitation and return to work coordinators no longer need to renew their current certificates to continue working in their roles.

 

It is now the responsibility of employers to ascertain that a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator is "appropriately qualified" to carry out the rehabilitation and return to work functions in their workplace.

 

"Appropriately qualified" means a person has the qualifications, experience or standing appropriate to perform the function or exercise the powers of a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator.

 

The functions of a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator include the following:

 

  • Compiling and investigating the initial injury notification information;
  • Facilitating and leading the early communication with an injured worker to clarify the nature and severity of the worker's injury;
  • Developing the suitable duties program component of a rehabilitation and return to work plan, if a plan is required, in consultation with the worker, the worker's employer and treating medical practitioner;
  • Coordinating the worker's return to work;
  • Monitoring and ensuring the rehabilitation and return to work plan is consistent with the current medical certificate or report for the worker's injury;
  • Liaising with:
    • any person engaged by the employer to help in the worker's rehabilitation and return to work;
    • the insurer about the worker's progress and indicating, as early as possible, if there is a need for the insurer to assist or intervene; and
  • Educating workers and management about workplace rehabilitation.

 

Employer's obligation to have workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures - 2013-14

 

An employer is required to appoint a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator if the annual wages for the preceding financial year of the employer is more than $7,124,520.

 

An employer is required to appoint a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator if the employer is in a 'high risk' industry and the annual wages for the preceding financial year of the employer is more than $3,562,260.

 

An employer that is required to appoint a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator must also have workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures.

 

The rehabilitation policy and procedures must be reviewed internally at least every 3 years.

 

Employers have six months, from the date they are required to appoint a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator to develop and implement their workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures.

 

Template workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures are available to assist employers develop policy and procedures that are relevant to their workplace.

 

There is no requirement for employers to notify the Regulator that the employer has the workplace policies and procedures or that they have been reviewed.