Retraining can be provided where the OR Occupational Rehabilitation provider determines this will assist in enhancing suitable employment options and achieve the RTW Return to Work goal. Retraining can also be used by the OR provider as a means of motivating and engaging the worker in vocational oriented activity to support development of their CWC Current Work Capacity.
A training course should not be approved simply because a worker suggests they have a preference for a particular type of employment or because they show a reluctance to work in the type of suitable employment identified by the OR provider.
A worker may also approach the Agent directly to approve a training course. The Agent process for approving a training course is the same whether the RTW goal is with the worker’s injury employer or a new employer or whether it is the OR provider or the worker who is seeking training course approval.
Retraining during OES
Some employers may have multiple workplaces and when considering what suitable employment may be available to the worker, the Agent and the employer should consider what suitable employment may be available at all workplaces of the injury employer.
To assist the Agent and the employer determine the suitability of that employment, a RC770 Retraining/Redeployment Report may be approved to identify whether the worker has the necessary transferable skills and abilities to perform the tasks and duties associated with the job
Following on from the initial assessment and if retraining is identified, the OR provider should seek Agent agreement that retraining is required. The OR provider will complete a Vocational Training Report and Funding request and can bill RC770 for this report. – RC770 is capped at 2 hours which includes provision for Retraining Support to identify a suitable course and assist the worker with enrolment. Up to 3 hours of RC771 can be invoiced to monitor the workers participation in the course and complete a Retraining Outcomes Report.
A Retraining Outcomes Report is only required for courses over $3000 and/or 12 weeks duration however it is also expected an OR Provider will notify the Agent when a Worker completes any training. Agents are encouraged to monitor courses over which will run greater than 12 weeks duration.
An OR provider must ensure that the worker understands that a training course approval relies on the Agent determining that a course is reasonable and necessary to enhance the worker’s employability.
Retraining during NES
The OR provider does not need to seek Agent approval for retraining courses where the course aligns to a suitable employment option the provider has previously detailed to the Agent, and where retraining costs do not exceed $3000 and the course is less than 12 weeks in duration.
Agent approval is not required when multiple courses are arranged at the same time and they do not exceed $3000 and/or 12 weeks duration. Where multiples courses are arranged at different times, costs/durations are cumulative and Agent approval will be required when the combined cost/duration of courses exceeds this criteria.
The OR provider can invoice RC770 to identify a course, provide justification for approval by completing the Vocational Training Report and Funding Request (where course exceeds criteria) and assist the worker in enrolment. Up to 3 hours of RC817 can be used to monitor course completion and complete a Retraining Outcomes Report upon course completion.
A Retraining Outcomes Report is only required for courses beyond 12 weeks duration however OR Providers should notify Agents when a Worker completes training. Agents are encouraged to monitor courses which will run greater than 12 weeks duration.
Agent approval required
Retraining courses exceeding $3000 and/or 12 weeks duration (individual and cumulative costs) can be recommended however require Agent approval. OR Providers will need to complete the Vocational Retraining Funding request form available on Discover to receive approval in these instances.
Courses which are under $3000 do not require Agent pre-approval however reference should be made to the course within a previous Occupational Rehabilitation report (example RC700 initial assessment).
Upon receipt of the Retraining email proforma, the Agent should review and advise the OR provider of their decision within three working days.
If the Agent does not approve a request for a training course, they must advise the worker in writing of the reasons for their decision and appeal rights.
Payment of training course costs for both OES & NES
Payment of the training course is made to the training course supplier using Payment Type Code 170.
An injury employer may choose to directly pay the training course supplier and seek a reimbursement of the costs from the Agent.
If the employer acts without Agent prior approval then the Agent only reimburses the costs if they are satisfied that the training course is reasonable and necessary and the costs are reasonable.
Worker costs approved
In addition to the training course costs, the Agent should also pay as an OR service cost other costs incurred by the worker when completing the training course. This may include books, pens, computer paper or other items nominated by the training provider as course requirements.
These costs may be paid direct to the training provider or the worker can be reimbursed on the provision of receipts.
When approving a training course, the Agent should contact the worker to establish what types of costs may be incurred. This will assist the Agent manage the worker’s expectations about what may be a reasonable OR service cost.
Worker costs not approved
If the Agent does not approve a request from a worker for the payment of a training course or other costs incurred when completing a training course, they must advise the worker in writing of the reasons for their decision and appeal rights.
Paying for computer equipment related to retraining
While a training course may require a worker to have access to a computer, the provision of computers or replacement computers, computer hardware or software or internet/email access is generally not approved as a medical and like expense.
Occupational Rehabilitation consultants and/or Agents should consider any available training courses that may support improving injured workers to return to work and employability. This can include considering what, if any, hardware is required and whether it is accessible in a public setting (e.g. library or educational institution).
Recognised training providers may offer students access to computers and appropriate software in face to face learning environments, to enable them to complete their course, and a worker undertaking retraining may also have access to a computer at home
Where an Agent is considering the provision of computer
WorkSafe may provide advice for computer equipment requests, however the final decision is made by the Agent.
If an Agent receives a request for funding of computer equipment (or other relevant device) so that a worker can undertake Agent approved retraining, the Agent should consider if:
the computer funding request directly relates to the retraining course funded by the Agent
the worker has access to an appropriate computer (e.g. a suitable existing device at home or access to a computer at a library or the course provider)
the worker can self-fund a computer or if a co-contribution should be considered
the worker would be disadvantaged and not able to participate in the retraining if the Agent did not provide funding for the computer
the device requested meets the inherent requirements of the course (e.g. system requirements)
See: Decision making
For guidance or advice from WorkSafe regarding computer equipment requests:
Agents can contact the Occupational Rehab Team via firstname.lastname@example.org
Agents must attach evidence of the above criteria having been considered, and the Agent’s preliminary outcome of the review.
Funding for approved computer equipment is payable under payment type 170, item code IE008.
Worker does not complete training course
When the Agent receives advice that the worker has ceased attending an approved training course, they should consider whether the worker is not actively using an OR service or cooperating with the provider of that service.
The Agent should also consider whether to seek a refund of all or part of the training course cost.
Vocational Retraining Framework