Work Rehabilitation - Policy

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

This policy describes the University’s commitment to work rehabilitation and final outcomes for staff. 

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

No entries for this document.

3.  Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to full-time, part-time and casual staff, supervisors and heads of organisational units.  It is not applicable to contractors.

4.  Policy Statement

The University supports and contributes to the provision of work rehabilitation for all staff whose ability to carry out their duties is affected by injury or illness.  The University recognises that helping its staff to stay at work or make an early and safe return to work after injury, can minimise the impact of injury on them and their families.

Staff who have contracted an injury or illness are supported by the University’s system of work rehabilitation and are provided with suitable duties during recovery. 

The University is committed to the following priorities with respect to final outcomes of injury or illness:

Priority 1: The staff member returns to the same job.

Priority 2: The staff member returns to a modified version of the same job.

Priority 3: The staff member is redeployed to a different job preferably within the original organisational unit, or to another area.

Priority 4: The staff member is unable to be redeployed within the University and as a last resort, employment is terminated on the grounds of ill health (PPL 5.70.13 Medical Conditions Affecting Performance).


Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael


Work Rehabilitation - Procedures

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1.  Purpose and Objective

These procedures enact the Work Rehabilitation Policy and outline the entitlements and responsibilities for the work rehabilitation of staff.   

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

WIM - Work Injury Management

Suitable duties - duties developed to assist staff to safely return to work following injury or illness.

3.  Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to full-time, part-time and casual staff, supervisors and heads of organisational units.  These procedures are not applicable to contractors.

4.  Procedures Statement

Work rehabilitation is the process of getting staff back to work safely and in line with medical guidelines specified by their treating doctor. Rehabilitation can also involve receiving treatment from a registered person (e.g. physiotherapist, podiatrist, and dentist) or provision of aids or equipment approved by WIM, who administer the University’s self-insurance of workers’ compensation scheme.  Experience shows that being back at work is an important part of recovering from a work related injury.

5. Key Features

The key features of work rehabilitation include:

5.1 Rehabilitation program

The Rehabilitation Adviser works with the staff member and their treating doctor for development of the rehabilitation goals and program and the suitable duties plan. All documentation, including case notes and relevant correspondence, is kept on a confidential rehabilitation file.

The provision of rehabilitation services is timely and appropriate having regard to the injury, the goals of the rehabilitation plan, and the staff member’s rate of recovery. 

As the rehabilitation program progresses it is evaluated by the Rehabilitation Adviser in conjunction with the staff member, their supervisor and the treating doctor.

Rehabilitation focuses on return to work, however if the injury is so severe that a return to work is precluded, rehabilitation may then focus on maximising independent functioning.

5.2 Suitable duties plan

The duties are selected to match the staff member’s capacity for work, in accordance with medical guidelines that may be provided by their treating doctor.

A suitable duties plan including a graduated schedule of hours and duties is often followed as part of the work rehabilitation program.

Where a graduated schedule of hours is applied, the organisational unit pays wages for the hours worked and WIM supplements their pay according to a formula prescribed in the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act (Qld) 2003.

Progress in performing the suitable duties plan is regularly reviewed by the Rehabilitation Adviser in consultation with the staff member and supervisor. Generally suitable duties plans extend for up to three months.  Reassessment of the rehabilitation program can result in continuation of suitable duties beyond the three month duration. 

6. Entitlements for Work Rehabilitation

6.1 Staff member

  • To be actively consulted during all stages of the workplace rehabilitation process, and in particular, regarding any proposed change in employment conditions and/or work organisation;
  • To involve a union representative or other person of choice at any time;
  • To be treated by the treatment providers of their own choice;
  • To be provided with copies of all documents related to their workplace rehabilitation management;
  • To access a review of rehabilitation program in the event of any disagreement over the workplace rehabilitation process; and
  • To provide feedback regarding their work rehabilitation program via the Worker Evaluation form four months after the completion of the rehabilitation plan.

6.2 The University

  • Make enquiries about the staff member if they are absent from work for significant periods because of injury or illness, and obtain medical certification for illness or injury requiring more than three consecutive working days absence from work;
  • Determine, in consultation with the staff member and their medical advisers, whether a workplace rehabilitation program is indicated;
  • Require the staff member to attend a medical examination with a medical practitioner of the University's choice for the purposes of assessing or reviewing the staff member’s condition; and
  • To determine, on objective performance measures, whether the staff member is fit to undertake suitable duties in relation to the workplace rehabilitation program.

7. Responsibilities for Workplace Rehabilitation

7.1 Staff member

  • Provide medical certification for illnesses or injuries which require more than three consecutive working days absence, and facilitate communication between the Rehabilitation Adviser and their treating medical practitioner regarding workplace rehabilitation planning;
  • Comply with reporting procedures outlined in section 8 of this document;
  • Co-operate with the development of, and participate in, a workplace rehabilitation program;
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure their recovery by complying with the suitable duties plan at work, and not undertaking activities, including those after work hours, which may hinder the recovery process;
  • Report on their progress at regular intervals as required;
  • Advise their supervisor and the Rehabilitation Adviser immediately if their condition becomes worse, and inform them of any changes in their treatment;
  • Cease any task which adversely affects their condition and report the problem immediately to their supervisor and the Rehabilitation Adviser;
  • Submit all certificates and reports relevant to the workplace rehabilitation program; and
  • Attend any medical examination arranged by the University for the purpose of assessing or reviewing their condition.

7.2 Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator

  • Early identification of injured or ill workers who may need rehabilitation;
  • Notify the Rehabilitation Adviser and WIM of workers who may need rehabilitation;
  • Coordinate and monitor the staff member’s progress as specified in their suitable duties plan.  (Problems must be discussed with Rehabilitation Adviser so that the program can be modified as needed); and
  • Liaise with WIM and Rehabilitation Adviser.

7.3 Rehabilitation Adviser

  • Develop, maintain and review rehabilitation systems;
  • Ensure written consent has been provided for liaison with the staff member’s treating health professionals (refer to Application for Workers’ Compensation form that is obtained from WIM);
  • Communicate in writing with the treating doctor
  • Maintain confidentiality of information contained in the rehabilitation file;
  • Develop the rehabilitation goals and program in consultation with the staff member and their supervisor, and seek approval from the treating medical practitioners; 
  • Oversee the management of the staff member’s rehabilitation;
  • Conduct regular reviews of the staff member’s rehabilitation program i.e. goals, rehabilitation strategies, time frames and progress;
  • Ensure early contact with the staff member;
  • Ensure that the staff member’s suitable duties plan is understood and coordinated by the supervisors and if appropriate, co-workers;
  • Provide expert advice for file review meetings;
  • Ensure that the staff member’s rehabilitation focuses on work, however if the injury is severe, then rehabilitation must be focused on maximum independent functioning;
  • Monitor and evaluate rehabilitation and return to work services;
  • Liaise with the case manager regarding rehabilitation strategies;
  • Maintain work rehabilitation program records as confidential, other than for the purposes of liaising with the head of organisational unit, supervisor, and Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator.
  • Educate all levels of staff about the University's Workplace Rehabilitation policy and procedures;
  • Inform the staff member of their entitlement to formal review of the rehabilitation process and referring requests for formal review to the Director, OH&S. 

7.4 WIM Case Manager

  • Maintain a current copy of the staff member’s rehabilitation program on file and ensure its confidentiality;
  • Integrate the strategies of the staff member’s rehabilitation program with the overall case management plan;
  • Arrange or assist with staff referral and access to internal and external rehabilitation resources;
  • Communicate claims management issues to the Rehabilitation Adviser and discuss possible modifications to the rehabilitation program;
  • When appropriate, monitor rehabilitation activities; and
  • Ensure that rehabilitation providers are paid promptly for their service.

7.5 Supervisor

  • Ensure the early reporting of the injury in accordance with the UQ Injury, Illness and Incident Reporting Procedures (PPL 2.10.07);
  • Assist in the development and implementation of suitable duties programs for staff under their responsibility;
  • Ensure that the conditions agreed to in the suitable duties program are met, and that the program is complied with; and
  • Monitor the day-to-day progress of the staff member on suitable duties programs.

7.6 Head of the organisational unit

  • Ensure that staff for whom they are responsible are aware of the University's Workplace Rehabilitation policy and procedures;
  • Ensure that the responsibilities of themselves, the injured or ill staff member and the supervisor have been met with respect to these procedures, particularly with regard to the Workplace Injury, Illness and Incident reporting procedures (PPL 2.10.07);
  • Ensure that all recommended modifications to the staff member’s workplace and duties are made, where practicable, without delay. Where it is not practicable to implement such recommendations, the Head of organisational unit must notify the University Rehabilitation Adviser;
  • Employ, where practicable, temporary staff as required to maintain the organisational unit’s essential operations and to ensure that unreasonable workloads are not imposed on others;
  • Ensure that all those concerned are aware of, and observe any work restrictions which apply to a staff member on a suitable duties plan; and
  • Encourage an attitude of co­operation and support amongst other members of the organisational unit during the workplace rehabilitation period.

8. Injury Reporting

The Workplace Injury, Illness, Incident and Hazard Reporting Procedures outline the steps that you must take in order to report your workplace injury or illness. The link to the procedures is:


It should be noted that this does not replace the need for staff injured at work, or with a work-related illness, to complete an application for worker’s compensation should they wish to make a claim. Claim forms are available from Work Injury Management, Occupational Health & Safety.

Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael