5.2.1 Provide employment

Employers have an obligation to provide pre-injury or suitable employment to a worker. This applies for the obligation period to the extent that it is reasonable to do so. Specific exemptions apply under the legislation.

For detailed information on this obligation, refer to Compliance Code 1 of 4: Providing employment, planning and consulting about return to work.

Provide employment

If, during the employment obligation period, the worker:


Agents should refer to Exceptions to RTW obligations for information about employers who are exempted from complying with their RTW Return to Work obligations.

52 weeks obligation period

The obligation continues for 52 weeks. This period may not be consecutive as it is an aggregated period and begins on the earliest date (see below) and includes those periods during which a worker has an incapacity for work (resulting from or materially contributed to by the injury to which the employment obligation period relates).

Back to top

Obligation to provide employment begins

The employment obligation period starts on the earliest of the following dates when the employer:

Periods excluded from the obligation period

The employer obligation period does not include any period:

Other relevant factors

The employment obligation period is reduced by the aggregate of any periods that the employer provided suitable employment when the employer was not required to do so (for example, where the claim was initially rejected).

Ideally, employers would continue to meet this obligation during a period that a rejected claim is being disputed. This ensures continuity, is good for the worker’s recovery and their RTW. Where suitable or pre-injury employment is provided in such periods this counts towards fulfilment of the employment obligation period.

Employers obligations to offer home duties

As employer RTW obligations are 'to the extent that is reasonable', each case needs to be reviewed individually to determine what is reasonable in that specific circumstance. Employers need to ensure they are not discriminating against an injured worker and are offering them the same options as any of their other staff members. If an injured worker requests to work from home due to concerns relating to COVID-19 when other staff members are not, the employer must consult with the worker and take their views into account (as is required in section 105 of the WIRC Act Workplace Injury Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 2013). This request may be reasonable and able to be accommodated in some cases and not in others.

When supervising and monitoring an injured worker working from home, employers may increase consultation with the worker or arrange regular meetings to monitor their progress.

Obligation after 52 weeks

Employers are encouraged to provide appropriate employment for their workers after the obligation period ends.

Reaching the end of the employment obligation period does not automatically enable an employer to terminate a worker’s employment. For example, State and Commonwealth labour and discrimination laws may place additional obligations on employers. In addition, Enterprise Bargaining Agreements may be relevant.

Employers should become familiar with these and other relevant requirements.

Next | Back to top