National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 Resource Library

Purpose of the Resource Library

As part of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030, Safe Work Australia has established this resource library to promote:

  • tailored, client-centric and coordinated approaches to return to work
  • culture and leadership that drives positive and supportive workplace relationships and behaviours
  • best practice approaches in providing suitable duties and other workplace adjustments to ensure workers’ timely, safe and durable return to work, and
  • return to work programs, policies and plans that follow the Strategy’s guiding principles.

Click on the tabs below to find the key resources in the library: 

Reducing workers’ compensation stigma

Safe Work Australia has produced a suite of resources aimed at injured workers, supervisors and employers to reduce the stigma associated with workers’ compensation.

National principles for communicating with workers

Safe Work Australia has created a set of national communication principles which aim to ensure effective communication with workers who seek information about workers’ compensation. Included is a checklist, a useful tool to help you apply the principles when developing communications for workers about workers’ compensation.

Managing the relationship with an injured or ill worker during return to work: A guide for supervisors in small and medium businesses

Safe Work Australia has partnered with the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) to produce a guide for supervisors in small and medium businesses to manage the relationship with an injured or ill worker during the return to work process.

The guide assists supervisors in supporting and staying in touch with workers who have suffered a workplace injury or illness. It helps them make the necessary changes to the workplace or work duties to help workers return to work sooner.

Developing a return to work plan: A guide and template

Developing a return to work plan in collaboration with an injured or ill worker is one of the best ways to support their recovery. Research shows workers have poorer health outcomes if they are away from work for a long time. A plan helps them return to good work, or to stay at work, while they recover.

The guide and template is for anyone developing a return to work plan. It provides practical advice and a step-by-step template for developing a successful plan in collaboration with an injured or ill worker.

Safe Work Australia has published the following research reports:

Compensation Policy and Return to Work Effectiveness (COMPARE) project

Safe Work Australia supported Monash University’s COMPARE project which undertook research to develop an evidence base to support effective return to work policy and practices in Australia. The project has published research findings in peer-reviewed journals covering the impacts of legislative reform, payment step-downs, psychological distress amongst claimants, experiences of the health care system, and regional differences in time off work and disability burden.

Taking Action: A best practice framework for the management of psychological claims in the Australian workers’ compensation sector

This framework provides practical and evidence-based guidance to assist workers’ compensation insurers and claims managers to better support workers experiencing psychological illness or who are at risk of developing one.

The Health Benefits of Good Work

The Health Benefits of Good WorkTM (HBGW) is an initiative from the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). This initiative is based on compelling Australasian and international evidence that good work is beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing and that long term work absence, work disability and unemployment generally have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.

A core function of Safe Work Australia is to develop and maintain an evidence base to inform workers’ compensation policy and practice.

The following reports support the National Return to Work Strategy:

The National Return to Work Survey

The survey is undertaken on a biannual basis and compares the return to work experiences and outcomes of injured workers against a number of variables, including returning to work, workplace rehabilitation and employer support. The latest ones are:

COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims

This report provides a snapshot of COVID-19 related workers’ compensation claims from 1 January to 31 December 2020 and uses preliminary data from Commonwealth, state and territory workers’ compensation authorities and details claims by type, industry, occupation and jurisdiction.

Australian workers’ compensation statistics

This annual report provides detailed workers’ compensation statistics, including trends over time and statistics on time lost from work and compensation paid. Data is presented by key variables such as industry, occupation, age group and sex. The reports also include information on the circumstances surrounding work-related injuries and diseases.

The Comparative performance monitoring reports analyse trends across Australia and New Zealand in work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation schemes’ performance.

The reports consider serious claim rates and work-related fatalities, premium rates by industry, funding arrangements and disputation to compare workers’ compensation schemes’ performance.

Click on your state or territory on the map to find resources specific to your jurisdiction.