May 11, 2024 • 9 min read

How do I engage a workplace rehabilitation provider?

Learn how to engage a workplace rehabilitation provider to support employee recovery and return-to-work processes effectively.

Written by: Stephen Zeng

As an injured worker, you have the right to choose your workplace rehabilitation provider, even when the referral is made by the treating medical practitioner or your employer. At any stage of the claim, you can choose or change your preferred rehab provider.

When to engage a workplace rehabilitation provider?

Generally, if the injured worker has been unfit for more than two weeks , it’s a strong indication that they needs a rehab provider. The earlier a rehab provider is appointed, the more likely it is that you’re going to get positive outcomes for returning to work.

It it recommended to engage a workplace rehabilitation provider when:

  • You are unable to perform your pre-injury duties and there is a need to identify alternative or modified duties.
  • There is a need for a physical assessment of your capacity to return to work.
    You are experiencing problems related to returning to work, such as anxiety.
  • Modifications, aids or equipment need to be implemented at your workplace to assist your return to work.
  • There is a need to determine if retraining should be provided.

Is approval required for workplace rehabilitation services?

Yes, pre-approval from the insurer is necessary before workplace rehabilitation services can commence. The insurer determines if workplace rehabilitation services are reasonably necessary for the worker’s circumstances.

Do workers and employers have to participate in workplace rehabilitation services?

“Both employers and workers have return to work obligations to adhere to under the NSW workers compensation scheme, and workplace rehabilitation services are often engaged to help them meet these obligations.”

If the worker does not wish to participate in a service, they should contact the insurer so they can explain the benefits of participating, as well as the potential consequences. Employers have the obligation to offer suitable duties to an injured worker and make reasonable accommodations for their return-to-work. However, this does not apply if the worker voluntarily resigns after the injury or is terminated for reasons unrelated to the injury.

What to expect from workplace rehabilitation?

Here’s what you can expect from an approved workplace rehabilitation provider when you’re participating in a Return to Work Program:

  • First, the rehabilitation provider will assess your needs upon receiving a referral to determine if additional services are necessary.
  • If the assessment suggests that you could benefit from rehabilitation services, the provider will discuss the assessment findings with you, your employer, and your medical practitioner.
  • If everyone agrees on the recommended services, they’ll be outlined in a service delivery plan. Before starting the services, this plan needs to be signed by you, your employer, and your medical practitioner.
  • Once the plan is agreed upon, the provider will give copies to you, your employer, and your medical practitioner. Everyone involved will also receive regular updates on how the return-to-work plan is going.

What happens if rehabilitation services are not approved?

Workplace rehabilitation services might not be approved if the insurer determines they’re not reasonably necessary. In such cases, the worker and any involved stakeholders will receive an explanation. Additionally, the insurer might offer advice on when it could be more suitable to consider rehabilitation services or suggest alternative services.

Further information on workplace rehabilitation

*The details in this article were correct and current when it was written. However, changes in business practices, policies, and other pertinent areas may have occurred since then. Readers should confirm the current validity of the content on their own.

Stephen Zeng
Stephen is the director and the principal writer at AusRehab, leading workplace rehabilitation provider, with a focus on addressing and resolving workplace injuries.

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