If you've been injured at work in Queensland and are receiving WorkCover benefits, you might be wondering if you can still work. The short answer is yes, but there are specific conditions and guidelines you need to follow. 

This article aims to help you understand your options for working at full capacity, part capacity, and on light duties during your recovery.

Understanding WorkCover and Your Capacity to Work

WorkCover Queensland provides compensation and support to workers who have been injured on the job. One of the key documents in this process is the work capacity certificate, which is issued by your treating medical practitioner. This certificate outlines your diagnosis, work capacity, and any restrictions or suitable duties you can perform during your recovery.

Working at Full Capacity

If your work capacity certificate states that you are fit for full, unrestricted duties, you can continue working as usual. However, it's crucial to ensure that your medical practitioner has accurately assessed your ability to perform your job without risking further injury.

Working at Part Capacity

In many cases, an injured worker may not be able to return to their full duties immediately. Instead, they might be cleared to work at part capacity. This could involve:

  • Reduced Hours: Your doctor might recommend that you work fewer hours than usual. This is often part of a graduated return-to-work plan, where your hours are gradually increased over time as you recover.
  • Modified Duties: You might be able to perform some, but not all, of your usual tasks. For example, if your job involves heavy lifting, you might be restricted to tasks that do not require such lifting.

Light Duties

If you cannot perform your normal physical role due to your injury, your employer is obligated to provide you with light or suitable duties, if available. Light duties are tasks that are less physically demanding and are within the restrictions set by your doctor. Examples of light duties include:

  • Administrative work
  • Supervisory roles
  • Tasks that do not involve heavy lifting, repetitive movements, or prolonged standing

What If Suitable Duties Are Not Available?

If your employer cannot provide suitable duties, you may need to stay away from work until you recover. However, this is typically not ideal for your overall health and well-being. In such cases, the Recover at Work program can be an alternative. This program allows you to work for a host employer temporarily while you recover, ensuring you maintain an income, stay active and are able to maintain the social aspects of returning to work. 

Important Considerations

  • Adherence to Medical Restrictions: Always follow the restrictions and recommendations on your work capacity certificate. Working beyond your capacity can worsen your injury and affect your compensation.
  • Communication: Keep open lines of communication with your employer, medical practitioner, and WorkCover. This ensures everyone is aware of your progress and any changes in your capacity to work.
  • Disclosure: If you change jobs while on WorkCover, you must disclose your injury to your new employer, especially if it affects your ability to perform the new job's duties, as per the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

For Further Information on Working While on WorkCover 

While you can still work on WorkCover in Queensland, it's essential to follow the guidelines set by your medical practitioner and WorkCover. Whether you're working at full capacity, part capacity, or on light duties, adhering to your work capacity certificate and maintaining communication with all parties involved will support your recovery and ensure you receive the benefits you're entitled to.

For more detailed information or specific queries, you can contact WorkCover Queensland directly or consult with a workers' compensation lawyer to ensure your rights are fully protected throughout the claims process. 

Contact us at 1800 960 482 or request a free case review online to check your legal rights.

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Last updated:

June 27, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

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