Rehabilitation/Return to work (non WorkCover) procedure

Intent

To provide a workplace based Return to Work process for all staff following non-work related illness or injury, ensuring a quick, safe and cost effective return.

To outline the rights and obligations of staff, managers and Human Resources.

Scope

All continuing and fixed term staff.

Exclusions

Casual staff and agency/contract or any other staff who are not employed directly by RMIT University

Procedure steps and actions

Procedure

Responsibility

Indicative Timeline

1. Notification

1.1 Referral of injured/ ill staff member to Human Resources

Manager

When absence exceeds 10 days, is predicted to exceed 10 days or involve intervention or work restrictions.

2. Advice and Support

2.1 Contact with injured/ ill staff member via introductory letter to explain Return To Work (RTW) process, role of Human Resources and to request written authority to obtain medical information.

Advise staff member to enter leave on Employee Self Service (ESS) and provide proof of illness.

Commence electronic and hard copy documentation (see 4. Documentation)

Human Resources

When case assigned

2.2 If injured/ ill staff member’s accrued sick leave entitlements have expired, offer advice to convert annual leave to sick leave.

If all leave credits have expired, injured/ ill staff member advised to apply for temporary incapacity benefits through their superannuation fund.

Human Resources

Refer to 2.1

2.3 Contact with manager to discuss any barriers, possible duties and restrictions.

Human Resources

Refer to 2.1

2.4 Determination as to whether external rehabilitation provider is required based on nature and severity of injury, predicted time frame for rehabilitation and nature of pre injury work of injured/ ill staff member.

External rehabilitation consultant may be recommended for complex physical injuries or where workplace conflict is an issue.

A suitable provider will be recommended.

(If no rehabilitation provider is required, go to Step 3).

Human Resources

Refer to 2.1

2.5 Recommendation to work unit/school that funding be approved for rehabilitation provider.

Provision of quotation, usually initially $1500 for initial rehabilitation services.

Human Resources

Refer to 2.1

3. Consultation and Plan Development

3.1 Regular contact maintained with injured/ ill staff member, treating medical practitioner (if authorised), manager and rehabilitation provider (if applicable) until the injured/ ill staff member has some clearance to return to work.

Human Resources

On regular basis and in accordance with frequency of provided medical certificates.

3.2 Provision of regular and continuous medical certificates indicating capacity to work and any restrictions to duties or hours that should be considered to Human Resources. Recording of absences on ESS.

Injured/ ill staff member

On regular and continuous basis so that status is validated at all times.

3.3 Development of formal Return to Work (RTW) plan based on medical advice and in conjunction with injured/ ill staff member, manager, treating medical practitioner and rehabilitation provider if necessary.

Human Resources to coordinate

When medical clearance (full or partial) certificate received.

3.4 Signing of agreed RTW plan by all parties involved. Copies given to all signatories and to payroll employee services advisor.

Human Resources to coordinate

Prior to commencement of injured/ ill staff member resuming work

3.5 Provision of safe and healthy working environment for returning injured/ ill staff member, including organisation of a workstation assessment if required, and modifications to equipment and area.

Human Resources in conjunction with Rehabilitation Provider (if applicable) or OH&S consultant

Either prior to or on first day of resumption of work.

3.6 Preparation of supportive work environment in terms of co-workers.

Manager

Prior to commencement of injured/ ill staff member resuming work

3.7 Regular contact with injured/ ill staff member and manager to determine the success of the plan.

Human Resources

Over the course of the RTW plan.

4. Documentation

4.1 Documentation of letters, plans, meetings notes, and reviews.

Human Resources

Throughout process

4.2 Forwarding of up-to-date and original medical certificates maintaining continuity of dates to Human Resources. Certificates should have start, end and review dates.

Injured/ ill staff member

As soon as certificates are issued and prior to pay cut offs, on a continuous basis up to the time when a full clearance is given.

4.3 Recording absences on ESS

Injured/ ill staff member

Throughout process

5. Review and Long Term Implications

5.1 Review of RTW plan and discussion with all relevant parties and negotiation (if required) and accommodation of any necessary modifications for new RTW plan.

Human Resources

In the final week of the RTW plan.

5.2 Preparation of subsequent RTW plans.

Human Resources

Until full medical clearance is achieved.

5.3 Review of case including the request for written information including a prognosis from the treating medical practitioner if there is no indication of the possibility of full clearance.

Human Resources

After six months of RTW plans or when injured/ ill staff member has been absent without any clearance for six months. Process repeated at twelve months.

5.4 If the injured/ ill staff member is unlikely to gain a clearance to resume full duties and hours and evidence of this is provided in writing by a medical practitioner, consideration should be given to:

  • formal variation of hours
  • formal conversion of the position to part time
  • an alternative position within the area

Work unit/school in discussion with injured/ ill staff member

After six months of RTW plans, and then again after twelve months.

5.5 If the injured/ ill staff member refuses to provide the requested written information and declines to authorise Human Resources to contact the doctor for the purpose of obtaining the required information, consideration should be given to:

  • applying for approval for an independent medical examination
  • termination when all leave has expired on grounds of ill health or abandonment

University in conjunction with Human Resources

When all avenues to establish a RTW using the procedure have been exhausted.

5.6 The process concludes when the injured/ ill staff member:

  • resumes pre injury duties and hours
  • is granted a formal variation of hours
  • resigns pre injury position
  • secures an alternate position
  • is granted Total and Permanent Incapacity benefits
  • is terminated
  • dies

When one of the actions outlined occurs

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