Returning to work

There is significant evidence that in general, work is good for health and wellbeing.  Conversely, the evidence also says long-term work absence, work disability and unemployment have a negative impact on health and wellbeing1

Practically applying your understanding of the health benefits of safe work can further support an injured worker stay at or return to work as soon as it is safe to do so.  The evidence also supports the value of returning to, or staying at, work as part of a person's rehabilitation and not just as the end point of rehabilitation.

The Australian Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work highlights compelling international and Australasian evidence of the health benefits of safe work.  It also brings together a wide range of stakeholder signatories, including the TAC, which recognise the importance of work as a determinant of a person's health.

For more information on the Health Benefits of Work visit

Your Health Benefits of Work GP and patient resource pack

Work absence tends to perpetuate itself: that is, the longer someone is off work, the less likely they become ever to return.

If the person is off work for:

*20 days the chance of ever getting back to work is 70%

*45 days the chance of ever getting back to work is 50%

*70 days the chance of ever getting back to work is 35%

Johnson D, Fry T. Factors Affecting Return to Work after Injury: A study for the Victorian WorkCover Authority. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; 2002

Return to Work

Returning to work is an important part of an injured person's recovery and rehabilitation.

Helping your patient return to work can reduce the social and financial impact on their life and wellbeing, and increase the likelihood of a timely recovery.

The following resources will support you in your role.


GPs play a key role in supporting a patient's recovery and return to work by assessing and certifying capacity.

The TAC Certificate of Capacity is a key communication tool in the return to work process and is also used to by the TAC to assess a patient's income benefits and support needs.

Providing complete and accurate information on the certificate of capacity, such as your patient's sitting/standing tolerances and driving ability, will ensure everyone involved in the rehabilitation and return to work process understands and knows how to support your patient's requirements.

1The Australian Faculty of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, The Royal Australian College of Physicians, Australian and New Zealand Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work, 2011.