Returning to work
We’re here to help you get your life back on track after your transport accident. We’ll help you prepare for your return to work, carry out a workplace assessment or help you find a new role if your injuries stop you from returning to your old job.
How do I get back to work?
We will work with you, your employer and your treating health professionals to help you return to work, find new work or get new skills. This may include helping you to identify your work goals and suitable services to support you.
We can pay the reasonable cost of the following services to support your return to work:
- Vocational rehabilitation services.
- Allied health professional services, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy or psychology.
- Workplace modifications or equipment.
- Retraining, to help you get a new job if you can’t return to the job you had before your accident.
- Travel, to and from your work or to and from retraining.
- Financial assistance for your current or new employer, to help you get back into the workforce.
What are vocational rehabilitation services?
Vocational rehabilitation services will help you to return to your work, or prepare you for a new role if your injuries stop you returning to your previous job.
There are a number of different ways that you might return to work:
- You could start part-time and slowly return to full-time hours.
- You might be able to make temporary changes to your job, to make it easier for you.
- You may decide to start a new, more suitable job with a new employer.
- You may need to retrain for a different job.
A vocational rehabilitation consultant can help you identify the most suitable options for you. They may conduct an assessment at your workplace, recommend different duties or hours in your existing job or provide advice about job seeking.
Vocational rehabilitation services may include:
- Workplace assessment and return to work planning.
- Vocational assessment, advice and support with job seeking or re-training.
- Workplace modifications or equipment.
What are allied health services?
Allied health services can help you to get ready for work by:
- Supporting your independence with daily tasks.
- Helping you to be physically and psychologically ready to work.
- Helping you to adjust working again.
Your doctor may recommend one or a combination of allied health services to support you. See the list of allied health services that we can pay for to support you achieve your goals after a transport accident.
Support for your employer
As part of your return to work program, we can offer your employer financial help to support you during this time. This support may include:
- WorkCover insurance premium protection for the period of your return to work program.
- Wage subsidies to compensate your employer financially, while you return to your normal hours and duties.
- Work trial.
- Equipment and/or modifications to your workplace.
A TAC coordinator, vocational rehabilitation consultant or occupational therapist can speak with you and your employer about these options and how to include these in your work plan.
Your employer may also be eligible for the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) to cover the costs of workplace modifications. See the Job Access website for more details.
Changing your existing work area and duties
At any time, you and your employer may agree to make changes that will allow you to return to work or to undertake your role to a greater degree. This might mean making physical changes to your work area, how you use equipment, the way you approach your job or how you are supervised.
A vocational rehabilitation consultant or an occupational therapist can support you to identify whether you need any changes to your workplace or duties.
We can pay for changes to your work area or equipment that is needed as a result of your accident injuries.
If you work for a large company or organisation, human resources professionals may be able to support you in discussions about changing your work area and methods.
For more information about vocational equipment please refer to the Equipment Policy.
What if I can’t return to my old job?
We will work with you and your treating team to help you return to work in an alternative job either with your existing employer or a new employer.
A vocational rehabilitation consultant can help you work with your employer to look at options within your workplace or to consider alternatives. This may include an assessment to gather information about you, your skills, qualifications and aspirations to identify new job options.
What is vocational retraining and pre-vocational training?
Your individual circumstances and injuries may mean you need to get a new qualification to allow you to return to work.
We can support you to do this by paying for vocational retraining. For some people this may mean re-training in a completely new occupation. This can be up to an equivalent level as the qualification or role you had for the job you are now unable to do because of your transport accident injuries.
We can pay for re-training up to the same level of training that you had completed before your transport accident.
Pre-vocational training prepares you for vocational retraining. This type of training does not directly get you ready to go back to work but it will help you with the basic skills you need so that you can do vocational retraining. For example, you might need to do a short course on how to use a computer so you can be ready to type up any assignments you need to do in your retraining.
We can also pay for:
- course fees and compulsory student and administration charges
- compulsory textbooks and materials
- travelling expenses
How are these services approved?
Your treating health professional may recommend vocational rehabilitation services for you. You can also talk to your TAC coordinator. You can choose a provider from the TAC vocational provider panel and we can then refer you to them.
You are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if you can participate in the return to work process and employment and you are:
- Unable to return to your field of employment without the support of vocational services, or
- A school leaver who had a transport accident while still at school.
A vocational rehabilitation consultant or occupational therapist may need to assess your workplace. They may also ask us to pay for changes to your workspace or additional equipment on your behalf. You can also contact your TAC coordinator to discuss your options.
You are eligible for vocational retraining and pre-vocational training if:
- You have a demonstrated ability to participate in training and the workforce.
- Your health professional certifies that your injuries will stop you from returning to your pre-accident job for a long period.
- Due to your injuries you cannot do any other duties related to your pre-accident job, and you cannot do another role using your existing skills and qualifications, for your old employer or a new employer.
If vocational retraining is recommended, a vocational specialist will identify what support or short courses you need to get you ready for vocational retraining. Retraining is expected to:
- Form part of an approved return to work plan.
- Have clear vocational outcomes for you.
- Lead to job opportunities after you have finished the training.
When needed, we will work with your treating team to help them coordinate your vocational retraining, pre-vocational training and support.
How services are paid for
We pay for your vocational rehabilitation services:
When the cost is less than $1500, we will pay for vocational retraining and pre-vocational training either:
- Directly to the service provider you have been referred to, or
- If you have to pay, use myTAC to send a copy of your receipt to us and we will repay you.
For any vocational retraining or pre-vocational training where the cost will be greater than $1500 we will repay you once the training has been successfully completed.
We pay for your services in line with our responsibilities under our guiding legislation, the Transport Accident Act 1986.
What we won’t pay for
We can’t pay for return to work services that:
- Capital expenditure, such as the costs of establishing or running a business.
- Equipment that employers need to provide to all employees to meet OHS requirements.
- WorkCover premium protection for a return to work program in your own business.