For detailed information on this obligation refer to Compliance Code 2 of 4: Return to Work Coordinators.
Role of RTW coordinator
The role of a RTW Coordinator is to assist the employer to meet their RTW obligations under the legislation.
A RTW Coordinator must have an appropriate level of seniority and be competent to assist their employer to meet its obligations under the legislation.
RTW coordinator responsibilities
RTW Coordinators are appointed to assist workers, where safe and practicable to remain at work while they recover or return to work as soon as possible following time away from work to recover.
The RTW Coordinator needs to:
- liaise with the worker and their manager or supervisor
- liaise with the worker’s doctor or health care provider, an occupational rehabilitation provider (if involved), the case manager and the worker’s representative (where one exists)
- monitor the progress of a worker’s recovery and potential for return to work
- before and after the worker returns to work, take steps to prevent a recurrence or aggravation of the injury
- help resolve any issues or disputes about return to work
- assist the worker and the employer to meet their RTW obligations.
RTW coordinators – no personal liability
The RTW Coordinator is not personally liable for any act or omission done or omitted to be done in good faith in the course of acting as a RTW Coordinator.
Any liability resulting from an act or omission of a RTW Coordinator in these circumstances instead attaches to the employer.
However, this protection does not extend to circumstances in which the ‘person’ appointed is also the employer.
RTW coordinator appointment
Whether an employer is required to appoint a RTW Coordinator will depend on their rateable remuneration for all of their workplaces.
Employers with rateable remuneration of $2,582,320 (indexed annually) or more must at all times, have an appointed RTW Coordinator who has an appropriate level of seniority and is competent to perform their role.
Employers with rateable remuneration less than$2,582,320 (indexed annually) must appoint a RTW Coordinator for the duration of the employer’s obligation to a worker who has an incapacity for work.
This person must also have an appropriate level of seniority and be competent to perform the role.
RTW coordinator seniority
For RTW Coordinators, seniority means that they are authorised to speak on behalf of and make return to work related decisions for the employer.
The employer must ensure that the RTW Coordinator has sufficient seniority to assist the employer to do the following:
- plan the return to work and make return to work related decisions to progress a workers’ return to the work
- identify and propose suitable or 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
- consult with the parties involved in the return to work: the worker, the worker’s THP Treating Health Practitioner (subject to the consent of the worker) and occupational rehabilitation provider (where involved)
- act as a point of contact for WorkSafe's RTW Inspector, if requested to do so by the employer
- deal with any of the RTW Inspector’s requests
- liaise with other people as required about return to work related matters including those within the organisation such as managers and supervisors
- participate in the resolution of return to work issues in accordance with the applicable procedure.
Ideally the employer would publicise the role and seniority of the RTW Coordinator within their workplace.
Competencies of a RTW coordinator
RTW Coordinators are required to be competent to perform their functions. The legislation sets out that a person is competent to assist the employer meet their obligations if the person has knowledge, skills or experience relevant to planning for return to work, including knowledge of the:
- obligations of employers and workers under the RTW part of the legislation
- compensation scheme provided for under the legislation and the functions of WorkCover.
Complete a two day WorkSafe endorsed 'Role of a RTW Coordinator' training – this is a facilitator-led course offered by approved training providers. This course addresses RTW Coordinator competency requirements. To find applicable costs, duration and your nearest approved training provider visit www.rtwtraining.com.
Other injury management and RTW Coordinator focused training is also available, such as that provided by the Personal Injury Education Foundation.
Review WorkCover material available at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au in particular:
- Return to work coordination - the basics you need to know
- What to do if a worker is injured - A guide for employers
- WorkSafe website - Return to work home page and the return to work website
- Compliance Code 1 of 4: Providing employment, planning and consulting about return to work
- Compliance Code 2 of 4: Return to Work Coordinators
- Compliance Code 3 of 4: Return to Work Information
- Compliance Code 4 of 4: Cooperating with labour hire employers about return to work.
Visit WorkSafe website and register to receive WorkSafe Learn to Return newsletter and apply the learning.
Seek mentoring from an experienced RTW Coordinator (within or outside your own workplace).
Participate in networking activities within or outside your own workplace and talk with others that have experience in or are currently managing workers compensation claims, occupational rehabilitation services or RTW processes.
Attend networking forums such as WorkSafe Employer Return to Work Network and participate in workers compensation and injury management discussions.
Register your interest in and attend events, such as WorkSafe Health & Safety Week, WorkSafe Road Show presentations and injury management and workers compensation seminars and conferences.