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Return to Work Plans

Compensation Lawyer – Return to Work Programs

For workers who are receiving compensation for work-related injuries, navigating a Return to Work Plan can be confusing.

This is often because of the number of stakeholders involved.

Insurers will usually arrange for a Return to Work Program to be prepared by a rehabilitation provider on their behalf in collaboration with the injured worker, the employer and the injured worker’s GP.  They must also consult with the worker in preparing an injury management plan.

The rehabilitation provider’s role includes coordinating the worker’s recovery with their return to work, identifying suitable employment opportunities aligned with their current working capacity and preparing the Return to Work plan. The plan must also outline the procedure for a requested change in rehabilitation provider, and how the worker will be told of this opportunity.

The employer must not dismiss an injured worker due to injury within 6 months of their incapacity. They are required (among other obligations) to implement the Return to Work Program, co-operate with the insurer, provide retraining or alternative job opportunities where appropriate and advise the worker that they can choose to nominate their own treating doctor.
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Termination of Weekly Benefits – Don’t ignore a Section 39 Notice!

Have you received a notice from your insurer advising that your weekly workers compensation benefits are coming to an end later this year?

The current legislation provides that for injured workers who do not suffer from greater than 21% whole person impairment, entitlements to weekly benefits cease after 260 weeks of weekly compensation payments.

For workers injured prior to the 2012 NSW Workers Compensation Scheme amendments, this 260 week period will cease near the end of 2017.

Workers approaching the end of this period should receive a Section 39 Notice from their workers compensation insurer inviting them to attend an independent medical examination. This will assist the insurer to determine whether the worker is eligible for ongoing payments after 260 weeks (i.e. whether you have over 20% whole person impairment).

It is important to remember that this determination is not necessarily final. Workers are entitled to challenge the medical assessment, at no cost to them.

The Workers Compensation Independent Review Office (WIRO) can provide funding for legal advice and to meet the expenses of challenging an insurer’s assessment.
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