National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 Overview

How was the Strategy formed? 

SWA Members and WHS ministers endorsed the Strategy in 2019, signifying their commitment to a national collaborative approach to support workers in their recovery and return to work.

The Strategy was developed through SWA’s tripartite governance arrangements. SWA’s Strategic Issues Group on Workers’ Compensation (SIG-Workers’ Compensation) oversaw the Strategy development and provided advice to SWA Members. A Strategy Working Group consisting of senior policy officers nominated by SIG-Workers’ Compensation was also established to provide input and advice on the Strategy at critical points.

How we will measure success

The Strategy includes a set of national targets to focus attention and drive action to improve return to work outcomes. 

The Measurement Framework model provides the architecture for further work to identify appropriate measures, indicators and targets for the Strategy. 

Work in the first 5 years of the Strategy focusses on:

  • establishing baseline measures
  • refining measures and indicators for inclusion in the measurement framework
  • setting targets as baselines of new or improved measures are established.

Based on the measurement framework, SWA will track progress of the Strategy against the strategic outcomes, producing a key achievements and scorecard and key achievements report at years one, three and five to report progress and inform future work. A mid-term review in year five and a full-term review will also be undertaken to analyse the effectiveness of the Strategy.

The year one Key Achievements and Scorecard report has been published. 

National Initiatives: Update 

Central repository

The development and launch of this central repository is a recommendation under action area 1 the Strategy and aims to:

  1. share and show-case best practice tailored, client centric and coordinated approaches to return to work, and 
  2. share information about early intervention, innovative claims management models including mobile case management, and case management pathways based on risk factors  

This project was undertaken as part of a broader project to upgrade and enhance SWA’s website. The central repository will be continually updated to capture information over the life of the Strategy. 

Workers’ understanding

This research project will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of workers’ access to, understanding of, and communication preferences for information on workers’ compensation, return to work and health literacy.

The research will contribute to the Strategy’s aim of empowering workers to navigate their return to work journey, including how to access information, support and make informed decisions around their health, recovery, claim and return to work. 

National Employer Survey on return to work 

This initiative seeks to address the current lack of a national mechanism to capture the return to work experience, and workers’ compensation more broadly, from the employer perspective. A national employer survey will build a more complete picture of both

parties in the return to work relationship – the worker and their employer.

SWA completed stage one of this initiative which was to finalise the scope of the survey and define the policy intent to inform the development of the national employer survey. Stage two of the project, which involves development of the specific survey questions, has commenced. 

The aim of the survey is to capture data and provide insights into employer capability and experiences in return to work and their knowledge and experience with workers’ compensation more broadly. 

More information

National Return to Work Strategy

National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 Central Repository