From when the injury occurs, through the insurance claims process, returning to work, and recovering at work – the guide covers your obligations under workers compensation legislation along with practical advice to get the best possible outcome for your worker and you.
It explains the roles of all the people involved, who together provide a support team for your worker, including you, the insurer, approved workplace rehabilitation providers, doctors and allied health providers.
Most injured workers take little or no time off work. For those that do, the vast majority (more than 80%) return to and recover at work within the first 13 weeks.
Advice and direction in this guide is based on a strong body of research and evidence about the health benefits of work and how returning to work and where possible, recovering at work after an injury, can promote healing and facilitate recovery.
The guide helps you identify suitable work options to support your worker to recover at work. It also includes actions you can take, including support programs, if the worker is not recovering as expected.
Workers compensation in NSW
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is the government organisation responsible for regulating the NSW workers compensation system. SIRA assumed the insurance regulatory functions of WorkCover on 1 September 2015. SafeWork NSW is the regulator for workplace health and safety in NSW.
There are three types of insurers in the NSW workers compensation system:
1. icare (insurance and care NSW) is a government organisation that delivers insurance and care services to people with workplace injuries under the NSW workers compensation scheme (known as the Nominal Insurer) and the NSW Self Insurance Corporation (known as SICorp). The Nominal Insurer is the single largest workers compensation insurer in NSW and provides workers compensation insurance to most businesses within NSW.
The Nominal Insurer contracts insurance agents to manage policies and claims on its behalf.
The five approved agents are:
- Allianz Australia Worker’s Compensation (NSW) Limited
- CGU Workers Compensation (NSW) Limited
- Employers Mutual NSW Limited
- GIO General Limited
- QBE Workers Compensation (NSW) Limited.
SICorp provides workers compensation insurance to most public sector employers except those who are self-insurers. SICorp contracts insurance agents to manage policies and claims on its behalf.
The three approved agents are:
- Allianz Australia Insurance Limited
- Employers Mutual Limited
- QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (QBE).
2. Self-insurers are employers approved by SIRA to manage their own workers compensation claims.
3. Specialised insurers hold a restricted licence to provide workers compensation insurance for a specific industry or class of business or employers.
Regardless of which type of insurer is involved in your case, they all have an obligation to support employers and their injured workers in their recovery at work and manage claim to ensure they receive their entitlements.
Under NSW workers compensation legislation every employer is required to:
- have workers compensation insurance1
- display the If you get injured at work poster
- have a documented Return to Work program describing the steps you will take if a worker is injured
- maintain a record of work-related injuries
- notify your insurer of all workplace injuries within 48 hours
- participate in the development of the workers injury management plan, written by your insurer, and comply with your obligations in the plan
- provide suitable work (as far as reasonably practicable) when a worker is able to return to work, either on a full-time or part-time basis2
- provide suitable work that is (as far as reasonably practicable) the same as or equivalent to the work being performed at the time of the injury2.
- an employer must not dismiss a worker because of a work related injury within six months from when the worker first became unfit as a result of the injury.3
The evidence for recovering at work
We know from research that:
- for most people with a work related injury, time off work is not medically necessary
- an unnecessary delay in returning to work is often associated with delayed recovery - the longer a worker is away from work, the less chance they have of ever returning
- staying active after injury reduces pain symptoms and helps workers return to their usual activities at home and at work sooner
- working helps workers stay active which is an important part of a worker’s treatment and rehabilitation.
The benefits to your business
Helping your worker to recover at work may reduce the financial impact on your business and enables you to:
- maintain the skills and knowledge of an experienced worker
- reduce the cost of training a replacement worker
- maintain good employer-employee relationships
- demonstrate to all workers, that they are valued employees
- reduce the length of time your employees are away from work
- avoid the cost of hiring new staff. The following 4 steps explain the workers compensation process and your role as the employer.