Determine pre-injury employment

Pre-injury employment (1) In this Part — pre-injury employment means the employment of a worker in a position which is the same as or equivalent to the position in which the worker was employed before receiving the injury means employment in a position which is the same as or equivalent to the position in which the worker was employed before the injury.

Provide same or equivalent employment to pre-injury position

In most cases, employers should provide the same role to the worker that they were employed in before they sustained the injury or illness.

Occasionally, a worker’s pre-injury job is no longer available. Whilst this is rare, the employer may provide equivalent employment.

The following elements of a position are considered to determine whether the worker has been provided with employment in a position which is the same as or equivalent to the position the worker held before the injury:

  • level of responsibility
  • seniority
  • tasks requirements
  • pay rates
  • hours of work
  • rosters/shifts
  • job location
  • other relevant factors.
Same job classification may not be same or equivalent position

Simply returning a worker to employment in their former job classification may not mean that the worker has been returned to a position that is the same as or equivalent to their pre-injury position.

An example of this is where the job classification is the same but the duties and responsibilities are less than before the injury.

In such cases, the worker’s status and career prospects may be diminished.

Back to top Propose suitable employment

Agents inform employers of their obligation

When the medical practitioner issues a Certificate of Capacity Ongoing certificate is issued for up to 28 days and can be issued by a: medical practitioner, osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor. stating that the worker has a current capacity for work, the Agent must contact the employer and inform them of their obligation to provide suitable employment.

The Agent follows up the initial contact, in writing, to request a response:

  • within 14 days
  • in less than 14 days if the employer thinks they will not be able to provide suitable employment.

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

Employers provide information requested by the Agent

The Agent requests the employer to provide the following information within the specified time frame:

  • the number of employees at the workplace
  • the type of business and duties carried out at the workplace and other workplaces if appropriate
  • details of suitable employment that has been proposed, if applicable
  • the reasons why the employer cannot provide suitable employment, if applicable.
Worker response to proposed suitable employment

Employers should require workers to respond to proposed suitable employment within 14 days.

The employer should advise the Agent of the worker's acceptance or non-acceptance of the suitable employment proposed.

See: RTW with injury employer

Worker rejects proposed suitable employment

If a worker rejects suitable employment that the employer proposes, the Agent determines whether the non-acceptance is:

  • reasonable
    The Agent contacts the employer to discuss the proposed changes to the suitable employment such as hours to be worked or duties to be performed and organise a workplace assessment.
  • unreasonable
    The Agent contacts the worker to obtain compliance with their obligations. This could include commencing the staged approach to worker non-compliance and ultimately terminating weekly payments if the worker continues to reject suitable employment.

See: Worker RTW obligations

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