Been injured at work? Are you injured to the point where you cannot do the job you were doing prior to your injury? It is important for your mental health and wellbeing that you return to work as soon as you are well enough. In some cases your injury will prevent you from taking part in your previous duties with your employer, despite being well enough to do other sedentary tasks.
Just because you cannot do your old job right now does not mean that you cannot work at all. You may be able to take part in other duties at another workplace. This is called host employment, and it is also known as the recover at work program. It has been shown that being off work for a long period of time can have a negative impact on a worker and their family. The recover at work program provides a way to help you return to work and enjoy a positive transition back to working.
When Peter* injured his shoulder as a construction worker he was not able to return to any suitable duties with his employer while he recovered. Because he could not work, he felt that he was not able to make a meaningful contribution. As a result, Peter began to develop depression. Thanks to WorkCover he was able to work with a host employer where he could do office duties. While he did not have any office skills to begin with, his host employer - working in conjunction with Peter’s allied health professional - was able to find some suitable duties where Peter could use his organisational skills. Peter worked with his host employer over a one month period, and was an integral part of Peter’s recovery and overall wellness.
Host employment, or recover at work, is assistance provided by WorkCover. When you have the capacity to work, but your employer does not have suitable duties for you, your insurer for your workplace injury will find you alternative suitable duties. A host employer will host you at their workplace and provide alternative duties which you are capable of doing. A host employment program usually runs for around four to six weeks.
Recover at work provides a number of benefits to you, including:
If it has been determined by WorkCover that there are no suitable duties for you at your existing workplace, a Rehabilitation Provider will step in to assist with the return to work process. A Rehabilitation Provider is an allied health professional who can assess your level of capacity and find a suitable host employer for your duties. It is likely that a professional such as an occupational therapist will visit the host employer site with the injured worker to develop the suitable duties program.
An employment program with a host employer will match your abilities with your capacity for work, and the hours that you can work. Any suitable duties program will be approved in writing by your treating physician.
Your host employment scheme is fully funded by your workplace insurance and requires a host placement agreement to be put in place and signed by all parties before you can begin working. WorkCover will pay your wages when you are participating in your suitable duties program.
Research has shown that a host employment placement can get you back into duties sooner, which plays a positive role in your recovery. WorkCover has an obligation to get you back into work as soon as you have capacity, and it has been shown that you will enjoy a smoother transition back into employment after an injury if you take part in a program like recover at work. Rest assured that your allied health professional and a representative from the host employment program will play a role in ensuring that your duties are suitable.
Not everyone who is injured can return to duties with their previous employer. This might be temporary or it might be permanent. If this is the case, and you do not have transferable skills, the recover at work program is a great way to get new skills and get back to work. On occasion, the host employer actually ends up hiring the injured worker due to their aptitude and willingness to learn new skills. This can be a positive and motivating part of an injured worker’s recovery, which is why the host employer is integral to the return to work program.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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