National Return to Work Strategy


‘Return to work’ is about helping workers to get back to work, or to stay at work while they recover from work-related injury or illness. It is a complex process in which many factors at the individual, organisational and system levels interact to influence a worker’s recovery, absence from work and the durability of their return to work. A positive return to work involves all systems working well together.

The National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 is built on a shared desire to make a difference. SWA Members were determined to identify common challenges and opportunities across Australia’s various workers’ compensation schemes to forge a national approach to improve return to work outcomes for injured or ill workers.

Collaboration is key to the Strategy’s success. We all have an important part to play, and the Strategy is intended to inspire action whatever your role in the return to work process

As part of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020 – 2030, SWA has established this web page to provide key Strategy resources and provide a central repository of information that takes a more coordinated approach to sharing and translating evidence at a national level, with a view to promoting the use of consistent messaging and informing policy and practice.

National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 infographic

Latest news


Safe Work Australia engaged the Behaviour Change Collaborative in partnership with the Collaboration for Evidence Research and Impact in Public Health at Curtin University to undertake independent research into workers’ understanding of workers’ compensation systems and their communication preferences.

As part of the first phase of national initiatives under the National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030 (the Strategy) Safe Work Australia commissioned two independent research reports from Griffith University:

The reports provide an evidence base and recommendations on how to meaningfully support workers in their recovery and return to work through building positive workplace cultures and minimising the adverse impacts of stigma and other psychological responses to injury on workers. 

The key achievements and scorecard report captures baseline national measures based on the Measurement Framework as we strive towards achieving the National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030 vision and outcomes over the 10 years. 

We’re excited to release a suite of short animations that summarise the Strategy and its five Action Areas. We’ve also started work on the first national research initiatives under the Strategy and released the Measurement Framework that outlines how we will measure the success of the Strategy. See below for all the details.

More information

National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 Overview

National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 Central Repository