The types of OR Occupational Rehabilitation services approved for a worker depend on the RTW Return to Work goal for the worker. Each OR service has a service code, a description and a fee approved by WorkSafe.
RTW goal with injury employer
Which OES service is approved by the Agent will depend on the worker’s capacity for work or whether they have returned to their full-time Full-time worker means a worker who is employed for at least the normal number of hours fixed in any industrial award applicable to the worker or if there is no applicable award the prescribed number of hours pre-injury duties or hours at the time the service is provided.
Worker at work with injury employer but this is not a long-term solution
Although a worker may return to work with their injury employer the Agent may be advised that this is not a long-term solution. Before considering a new RTW goal with a new employer, the Agent must confirm the injury employer’s RTW obligations have been satisfied, including fully exhausting any other RTW opportunities at another of their workplaces and considering retraining.
Once the Agent is satisfied that no opportunity exists for the worker to return to work at a workplace of the injury employer, the RTW goal becomes a return to work with a new employer and a NES New Employer Services Vocational Report should be approved.
RTW goal with new employer
WorkSafe recognises OR services known as New Employer Services (NES) specifically for return to work with a new employer. Which NES service is approved by the Agent will depend on the worker’s capacity for work at the time the service is provided.
OES & NES services at the same time
A worker may be at work at the injury employer but the Agent determines that the injury employer's RTW obligations have been satisfied.
As the RTW goal will now be to return to work with a new employer, NES will be approved although the worker may continue to work at the injury employer to maintain their CWC Current Work Capacity.
OES services in these circumstances would usually be provided via telephone contact.
If the OR provider delivering the NES services to the worker is different to the OR provider delivering OES services then the Agent must advise the worker that their primary OR provider contact is the NES provider.
The Agent should closely monitor any such arrangement and document the date when the arrangement is proposed to cease.
Worker obligation to use an OR service
A worker is obliged to actively use an OR service and cooperate with the provider of the service. In general, Agents and OR providers should ensure workers are made aware of their rights and obligations under the legislation, particularly about return to work and OR service participation.
OR provider to continue to offer services
If a worker’s use of OR services or cooperation with the OR provider is a concern, the OR provider should continue to offer OR services even though the worker may not be attending appointments or has demonstrated a lack of interest in returning to work or is not actively participating in an OR service.
The OR provider should telephone the Agent if a worker is not actively participating in an OR service, not cooperating with the provider of that service or failing to make a reasonable effort to return to work.
Exceptions where an OR provider may cease to offer OR services immediately
An OR provider may cease OR service provision without prior Agent approval if the worker:
threatens to physically harm an OR provider or OR provider staff
suggests self-harm if the OR provider or the OR provider’s staff continue to contact them.
An OR provider must inform the Agent and the worker’s THP Treating Health Practitioner immediately if they cease OR service provision for these reasons.
Asking OR providers to cease servicing during a 13 week incentive sustainability period
OR providers are eligible for specific OR incentive payments when RTW has been sustained for a period of 13 weeks (refer to the ‘OR Fee Schedule’ for relevant item numbers and a further description).
When deciding whether OR services should cease or continue during a 13 week sustainability period, the Agent must consider whether OR services should remain involved (in an 'active' or ‘inactive’ capacity) so that the OR provider can claim the relevant sustainability incentive payment.
Refer to the WorkSafe Victoria Occupational Rehabilitation Fee Schedule for further detail on active and inactive OR servicing.