Return to work information for employers of TAC clients

If your employee has been in a transport accident, you will no doubt have a lot of questions.

Returning to work plays an important part in a person’s recovery after injury, and the TAC can provide support to both you and your employee to make the transition safe and successful.

The earlier you and your employee start planning their return, the more likely they are to get back to work quickly and successfully.

If your employee has been injured in a transport accident the TAC can support you to make their return to work safe and successful.

Your employee doesn't need to be fully recovered to get back to work. In fact, returning to work can help your employee recover faster and have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

It also helps your business retain knowledge and skills and reduce the cost of lost productivity.

There are a few ways you can support your employee's return to work.

  • Check on how they are and stay in regular contact with them.
  • Consider their role and tasks.
  • If they can't return to their normal duties initially, there may be other tasks they could manage.
  • Provide details about your employee's role to their health professional and the TAC. This helps determine when they might be able to work and what they can do.

The TAC can provide a range of support for employers including:

  • A tailored return-to-work plan developed by you, your employee, and a specialist.
  • WorkCover insurance premium protection.
  • A subsidised trial phase if required.
  • Graded wage subsidies to support your business while your employee increases their productivity.
  • Workplace modifications or equipment required post injury.
  • A one off payment to cover administration costs.

For more information on how to support your employee visit tac.vic.gov.au/work or call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Find out what TAC support is available to help your employee return to work after a transport accident.

Benefits of employees returning to work

There are no legal obligations within the Transport Accident Act 1986 which require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

However, there are a numerous benefits to supporting your employee’s return to work.

  • Your employee will recover faster after injury; resuming employment is one of the most effective forms of rehabilitation
  • You retain knowledge and skills, reducing the cost of hiring and training new staff
  • You reduce the cost of lost productivity
  • You help build and maintain morale in the workplace

The TAC can provide a range of supports for you and your employee to make the return as smooth as possible.

Ways you can support your employee

  • Stay in touch with your employee and talk to them about their return to work
  • Have a think about what your employee can do even if it is not their usual duties
  • Be proactive, don’t wait for your employee to contact you about returning to work
  • Contact the TAC if you:
    • have questions or concerns about your employee returning to work
    • would like more information on employer supports
    • have a setback during your employee’s return to work

Roles and responsibilities

Your role

You have an important part to play in your employee’s successful return to work. To assist your employee’s return to work you can:

  • Contact your employee to see how they are recovering and stay in regular contact. This can help your employee stay positive about recovering and returning to work.
  • Consider the role and tasks your employee does. If your employee can’t perform their normal duties straight away there may be other tasks they can do. Your employee doesn’t need to be fully recovered to return to work, and we can support you to ensure a safe return.
  • Provide detail about your employee’s role to the TAC and your employee’s health professional. This information will help to evaluate their capacity for work.
  • Discuss any barriers or support you need with the TAC.

If you are aware of an employee’s disability, legally you must provide what is regarded 'reasonable adjustments' to accommodate the needs of your employee.

Reasonable adjustments let an employee with disability safely perform the essential requirements of their job.

More information about reasonable adjustments, including policy templates and checklists are available on the JobAccess website.

Your employee’s role

Your employee is encouraged to stay in regular contact with you and update you on the progress of their recovery. They should:

  • Contact you to discuss their recovery and return to work
  • Discuss options of returning to work including the potential for alternate duties and/or reduced hours
  • Supply you with certificates of capacity which outline their capacity to work.

The TAC

Our role is to support people injured in transport accidents, and help pay for treatment and services they need to get their lives back on track. This includes working with injured people, their employers and healthcare professionals to return to work.

After your employee’s accident, we will contact you to discuss the return to work process, this includes:

  • Your employee’s potential to return to work
  • The type of work and duties your employee does
  • Any alternate or modified duties that are available
  • Any questions or concerns you may have about your employee’s return to work
  • The support we can provide to ensure a successful return to work.

Healthcare professionals

Your employee’s healthcare professional is the best person to recommend how long they need off work and when they can return. They should:

  • Assess your employee’s capacity for work and recommend what they can and can’t do while they are recovering.
  • Complete a certificate of capacity that will indicate whether your employee is ready to return to work. Your employee may be able to return to their normal duties or it may be recommended they initially perform modified duties or a reduced number of hours depending on how they are recovering from their injuries.
  • Provide advice about any restrictions or equipment needs to support their return to work.
  • Recommend how your employee should best manage a return to work, such as taking regular breaks and/or doing an exercise program.
  • Contact you to discuss suitable options if required.

Return to work specialists

The majority of our clients return to work with the support of their doctor, the TAC and their employer.

Sometimes the services of an independent return to work specialist are needed to provide additional support for clients with particular needs.

They will work with you, your employee and the TAC to plan a tailored return to work plan that meets the needs of you and your employee.

Depending on your employee’s needs, the return to work specialist may:

  • Conduct a worksite assessment to determine an appropriate working environment for your employee
  • Assess and recommend any modifications to your employee’s duties or hours
  • Liaise with your employee’s healthcare professional to ensure hours and duties are appropriate
  • Assess and recommend any physical changes to the workplace or equipment
  • Work with your occupational health and safety manager (if applicable)
  • Develop a return to work plan and monitor your employee’s progress once they return
  • Be the key contact in relation to the return to work plan

What to expect from a return to work plan

During a return to work plan, you are responsible for the usual elements of the employment relationship.

These include supervision, performance management, superannuation, industrial relations, human resources, standard equipment required for the role and all other WorkCover obligations.

Before your employee returns

  1. Your employee’s return to work specialist will conduct a worksite assessment, including a productivity assessment. The initial wage subsidy will be agreed at this stage (if applicable).
  2. The specialist will provide a report cleared by a medical practitioner that confirms your employee’s duties, work hours, wage subsidies and any other recommendations (e.g. equipment needs).
  3. The TAC will confirm the details of the return to work plan, WorkCover premium protection and any subsidy payments.

When your employee returns

  1. Your employee will start work as per the return to work plan.
  2. During the return to work plan you should pay your employee only for the hours they work.
  3. In the case of wage subsidies, either you or your employee should send or email payslips to the TAC. This will ensure you are reimbursed the agreed wage subsidy (for hours worked) and help us calculate any partial income benefit to be paid to our client.
  4. The return to work specialist will conduct regular reviews throughout the return to work plan and will provide progress reports to all parties detailing any changes in productivity, duties and hours to be worked.
  5. There is no set time frame for a return to work plan, however it will normally run for a minimum of 12 weeks. The specialist will finalise the plan once the return to work goals are achieved and sustained.

Sick or annual leave reimbursements for your employee

If your employee is entitled to TAC income support and you pay your employee sick or annual leave for their time off because of their transport accident injuries:

  • The TAC can pay your employee's income support to you
  • You can then credit the equivalent amount of sick or annual leave back to your employee

How it works

  • The TAC does not pay for the first five days a person has from work after a transport accident
  • In most cases, the TAC pays 80% of a person's pre-accident weekly income, up to a maximum amount of $1,430 per week
  • If we pay your employee's income support to you, you will receive a remittance advice. This remittance shows how much we have paid as 'leave reimbursements'.
  • Register for Westpac PaymentsPlus (a free service) to access the remittance online. See Getting paid for details.
  • You can then credit leave back to your employee. See below for an example of how to do this

You and your employee need to complete the 'Authority to pay entitlement: employer form' before the TAC can start to pay you.

You should let your payroll department know about this arrangement before it begins.

The TAC can only pay you if your employee's health professional has completed a Certificate of Capacity. It is a good idea to ask for a copy of your employee's Certificate of Capacity for your records.

How to calculate the leave to credit back to your employee

The best way to credit leave back to your employee is to work out how many hours the TAC income support payment is worth.

For example:

Your employee earns $35 an hour gross.

The TAC pays $1,064 income support to you.

Divide the TAC income support amount by your employee's hourly rate. This will give you the amount of sick or annual leave hours to credit back to your employee. In this case:

$1,064 / 35 = 30.4 hours of leave to credit back.

WorkCover insurance premium protection

The TAC can protect your WorkCover insurance premium if your employee is injured or re-injured during a TAC return to work program. This means:

  • Your WorkCover premium is not affected in the event of a workplace injury during a return to work program
  • The TAC will reimburse the WorkCover excess incurred as a result of any WorkCover claim.

The WorkCover insurance premium protection can be provided alone or together with the trial phase or graded wage subsidy.

Some exclusions apply to accessing this incentive. These include:

  • Interstate employers (that is, outside Victoria)
  • Employers who self-insure for WorkCover
  • Employers covered by ComCare
  • Where a WorkCover claim has not been accepted by the TAC’s WorkCover agent.

Trial phase

The return to work specialist may recommend a trial phase as part of a return to work plan.

The trial phase is normally up to 4 weeks in duration and is designed to:

  • Assist your employee to return to their pre-accident working hours and duties, or
  • Trial a new role within the workplace
  • Allow the return to work specialist to fine tune their recommendations, if necessary, before a graded return to work commences.

During the trial phase, the TAC will reimburse you 100% for the hours your employee works. The number of hours they work depends on a number of factors including:

  • Their capacity for work
  • The worksite assessment conducted by the return to work specialist, and
  • Your business needs.

The return to work specialist will use the results of the trial phase to plan the next phase of the return to work plan with you and your employee.

Graded wage subsidy

The graded wage subsidy is designed to support your business financially, while your employee resumes normal duties or becomes confident in a new role and reaches full productivity.

The graded wage subsidy forms part of an ongoing return to work plan. If it is required, the productivity of your employee is established and the wage subsidy paid to you is based on their productivity while at work.

Productivity is identified by the return to work specialist in collaboration with you and your employee.

For example, if your employee is 70% productive in his/her required duties, the TAC will reimburse you 30% of the wage for the hours worked. The wage subsidy decreases as the employees’ productivity increases.

Workplace modifications and/or equipment

The TAC can consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace modifications or equipment that will assist your employee to return to work safely.

To consider this, a return to work specialist will conduct a worksite assessment and make recommendations to the TAC for any equipment or modifications that are required.

One off payment

Employers may be eligible for a one off payment of up to $1,000, to assist with the administrative costs of supporting a TAC client to return to work.

Your TAC coordinator or return to work specialist can advise whether you are eligible for this payment, and how you can access it.

How do I know if my employee is ready to return to work?

Your employee’s healthcare professional should advise how long they need off work and when they can return.  They should make these recommendations via a certificate of capacity. This should outline which the capacity in which they can return to work. If you have any concerns about your employee returning to work you should discuss this with your employee and their doctor and/or return to work specialist.

The TAC can also provide a range of supports to ensure that your employee has a safe and productive return to work.

Can I expect my employee to be fully fit?

Your employee’s healthcare professional may recommend your employee return to work doing suitable duties. This means they may not yet be fully fit to complete all aspects of the role, however returning to work doing suitable duties will allow them to recover sooner and build productivity.

Depending on the length of time off work and the nature of the injury, your employee may require a graded return to work.

If your employee has any restrictions, you will be made aware of these and you can be supported to make adjustments and/or modifications to their role and/or work environment.

Is there any legal obligation for me to take an injured worker back?

Unlike WorkCover legislation, there are no provisions in the Transport Accident Act 1986 which require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

However, having a valued employee returning to your workplace will be important for your organisation as well as to help your employee recover from their injuries. We will work with you and your employee during the return to work process. We can offer incentives to support you and help ease the financial impact of taking back an employee after an accident.

What happens if I take someone back and they get re-injured?

As part of the employer incentive package we may be able to offer a return to work program that includes WorkCover premium protection.

I’m worried that if I take someone back who isn’t fully fit, my business may suffer due to lost productivity

As part of the employer incentive package we can consider paying a wage subsidy to compensate your business while you support your employee in their return to work.

These subsidies will be developed with the help of a return to work specialist and will be agreed upon by all parties before any return to work program commences so that you know exactly what to expect.

What if modifications are needed to the workplace. Who will pay for this?

The TAC may consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace equipment and/or modifications that will assist with an employee’s return to work. The return to work specialist will assess the worksite and recommend the types of modifications or equipment required.

They will discuss the recommendations with your employee’s treating doctor and advise us on the modifications required. If appropriate, we will then pay for these modifications to help your injured worker return safely.

Who will pay for sick leave if my employee has to have time off for treatment of their accident injuries?

Medical appointments should be outside of work time. However if your employee has to have time off work due to their accident injuries, they need to advise us of this via a certificate of capacity, or a medical report from their treating practitioner.

If approved, we can organise a reimbursement to you for the sick leave taken or pay the TAC client directly for the time they require off work.

How long will the return to work specialist be involved?

The return to work specialist will monitor your employee for a minimum of 12 weeks once their return to work goal has been achieved. In some instances, an employee may need support for a longer period.

If further return to work support is required, contact the TAC coordinator to see what options are available.

If your employee has been in a transport accident, you will no doubt have a lot of questions.

Returning to work plays an important part in a person’s recovery after injury, and the TAC can provide support to both you and your employee to make the transition safe and successful.

The earlier you and your employee start planning their return, the more likely they are to get back to work quickly and successfully.

If your employee has been injured in a transport accident the TAC can support you to make their return to work safe and successful.

Your employee doesn't need to be fully recovered to get back to work. In fact, returning to work can help your employee recover faster and have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

It also helps your business retain knowledge and skills and reduce the cost of lost productivity.

There are a few ways you can support your employee's return to work.

  • Check on how they are and stay in regular contact with them.
  • Consider their role and tasks.
  • If they can't return to their normal duties initially, there may be other tasks they could manage.
  • Provide details about your employee's role to their health professional and the TAC. This helps determine when they might be able to work and what they can do.

The TAC can provide a range of support for employers including:

  • A tailored return-to-work plan developed by you, your employee, and a specialist.
  • WorkCover insurance premium protection.
  • A subsidised trial phase if required.
  • Graded wage subsidies to support your business while your employee increases their productivity.
  • Workplace modifications or equipment required post injury.
  • A one off payment to cover administration costs.

For more information on how to support your employee visit tac.vic.gov.au/work or call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Find out what TAC support is available to help your employee return to work after a transport accident.

Benefits of employees returning to work

There are no legal obligations within the Transport Accident Act 1986 which require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

However, there are a numerous benefits to supporting your employee’s return to work.

  • Your employee will recover faster after injury; resuming employment is one of the most effective forms of rehabilitation
  • You retain knowledge and skills, reducing the cost of hiring and training new staff
  • You reduce the cost of lost productivity
  • You help build and maintain morale in the workplace

The TAC can provide a range of supports for you and your employee to make the return as smooth as possible.

Ways you can support your employee

  • Stay in touch with your employee and talk to them about their return to work
  • Have a think about what your employee can do even if it is not their usual duties
  • Be proactive, don’t wait for your employee to contact you about returning to work
  • Contact the TAC if you:
    • have questions or concerns about your employee returning to work
    • would like more information on employer supports
    • have a setback during your employee’s return to work

Roles and responsibilities

Your role

You have an important part to play in your employee’s successful return to work. To assist your employee’s return to work you can:

  • Contact your employee to see how they are recovering and stay in regular contact. This can help your employee stay positive about recovering and returning to work.
  • Consider the role and tasks your employee does. If your employee can’t perform their normal duties straight away there may be other tasks they can do. Your employee doesn’t need to be fully recovered to return to work, and we can support you to ensure a safe return.
  • Provide detail about your employee’s role to the TAC and your employee’s health professional. This information will help to evaluate their capacity for work.
  • Discuss any barriers or support you need with the TAC.

If you are aware of an employee’s disability, legally you must provide what is regarded 'reasonable adjustments' to accommodate the needs of your employee.

Reasonable adjustments let an employee with disability safely perform the essential requirements of their job.

More information about reasonable adjustments, including policy templates and checklists are available on the JobAccess website.

Your employee’s role

Your employee is encouraged to stay in regular contact with you and update you on the progress of their recovery. They should:

  • Contact you to discuss their recovery and return to work
  • Discuss options of returning to work including the potential for alternate duties and/or reduced hours
  • Supply you with certificates of capacity which outline their capacity to work.

The TAC

Our role is to support people injured in transport accidents, and help pay for treatment and services they need to get their lives back on track. This includes working with injured people, their employers and healthcare professionals to return to work.

After your employee’s accident, we will contact you to discuss the return to work process, this includes:

  • Your employee’s potential to return to work
  • The type of work and duties your employee does
  • Any alternate or modified duties that are available
  • Any questions or concerns you may have about your employee’s return to work
  • The support we can provide to ensure a successful return to work.

Healthcare professionals

Your employee’s healthcare professional is the best person to recommend how long they need off work and when they can return. They should:

  • Assess your employee’s capacity for work and recommend what they can and can’t do while they are recovering.
  • Complete a certificate of capacity that will indicate whether your employee is ready to return to work. Your employee may be able to return to their normal duties or it may be recommended they initially perform modified duties or a reduced number of hours depending on how they are recovering from their injuries.
  • Provide advice about any restrictions or equipment needs to support their return to work.
  • Recommend how your employee should best manage a return to work, such as taking regular breaks and/or doing an exercise program.
  • Contact you to discuss suitable options if required.

Return to work specialists

The majority of our clients return to work with the support of their doctor, the TAC and their employer.

Sometimes the services of an independent return to work specialist are needed to provide additional support for clients with particular needs.

They will work with you, your employee and the TAC to plan a tailored return to work plan that meets the needs of you and your employee.

Depending on your employee’s needs, the return to work specialist may:

  • Conduct a worksite assessment to determine an appropriate working environment for your employee
  • Assess and recommend any modifications to your employee’s duties or hours
  • Liaise with your employee’s healthcare professional to ensure hours and duties are appropriate
  • Assess and recommend any physical changes to the workplace or equipment
  • Work with your occupational health and safety manager (if applicable)
  • Develop a return to work plan and monitor your employee’s progress once they return
  • Be the key contact in relation to the return to work plan

What to expect from a return to work plan

During a return to work plan, you are responsible for the usual elements of the employment relationship.

These include supervision, performance management, superannuation, industrial relations, human resources, standard equipment required for the role and all other WorkCover obligations.

Before your employee returns

  1. Your employee’s return to work specialist will conduct a worksite assessment, including a productivity assessment. The initial wage subsidy will be agreed at this stage (if applicable).
  2. The specialist will provide a report cleared by a medical practitioner that confirms your employee’s duties, work hours, wage subsidies and any other recommendations (e.g. equipment needs).
  3. The TAC will confirm the details of the return to work plan, WorkCover premium protection and any subsidy payments.

When your employee returns

  1. Your employee will start work as per the return to work plan.
  2. During the return to work plan you should pay your employee only for the hours they work.
  3. In the case of wage subsidies, either you or your employee should send or email payslips to the TAC. This will ensure you are reimbursed the agreed wage subsidy (for hours worked) and help us calculate any partial income benefit to be paid to our client.
  4. The return to work specialist will conduct regular reviews throughout the return to work plan and will provide progress reports to all parties detailing any changes in productivity, duties and hours to be worked.
  5. There is no set time frame for a return to work plan, however it will normally run for a minimum of 12 weeks. The specialist will finalise the plan once the return to work goals are achieved and sustained.

Sick or annual leave reimbursements for your employee

If your employee is entitled to TAC income support and you pay your employee sick or annual leave for their time off because of their transport accident injuries:

  • The TAC can pay your employee's income support to you
  • You can then credit the equivalent amount of sick or annual leave back to your employee

How it works

  • The TAC does not pay for the first five days a person has from work after a transport accident
  • In most cases, the TAC pays 80% of a person's pre-accident weekly income, up to a maximum amount of $1,430 per week
  • If we pay your employee's income support to you, you will receive a remittance advice. This remittance shows how much we have paid as 'leave reimbursements'.
  • Register for Westpac PaymentsPlus (a free service) to access the remittance online. See Getting paid for details.
  • You can then credit leave back to your employee. See below for an example of how to do this

You and your employee need to complete the 'Authority to pay entitlement: employer form' before the TAC can start to pay you.

You should let your payroll department know about this arrangement before it begins.

The TAC can only pay you if your employee's health professional has completed a Certificate of Capacity. It is a good idea to ask for a copy of your employee's Certificate of Capacity for your records.

How to calculate the leave to credit back to your employee

The best way to credit leave back to your employee is to work out how many hours the TAC income support payment is worth.

For example:

Your employee earns $35 an hour gross.

The TAC pays $1,064 income support to you.

Divide the TAC income support amount by your employee's hourly rate. This will give you the amount of sick or annual leave hours to credit back to your employee. In this case:

$1,064 / 35 = 30.4 hours of leave to credit back.

WorkCover insurance premium protection

The TAC can protect your WorkCover insurance premium if your employee is injured or re-injured during a TAC return to work program. This means:

  • Your WorkCover premium is not affected in the event of a workplace injury during a return to work program
  • The TAC will reimburse the WorkCover excess incurred as a result of any WorkCover claim.

The WorkCover insurance premium protection can be provided alone or together with the trial phase or graded wage subsidy.

Some exclusions apply to accessing this incentive. These include:

  • Interstate employers (that is, outside Victoria)
  • Employers who self-insure for WorkCover
  • Employers covered by ComCare
  • Where a WorkCover claim has not been accepted by the TAC’s WorkCover agent.

Trial phase

The return to work specialist may recommend a trial phase as part of a return to work plan.

The trial phase is normally up to 4 weeks in duration and is designed to:

  • Assist your employee to return to their pre-accident working hours and duties, or
  • Trial a new role within the workplace
  • Allow the return to work specialist to fine tune their recommendations, if necessary, before a graded return to work commences.

During the trial phase, the TAC will reimburse you 100% for the hours your employee works. The number of hours they work depends on a number of factors including:

  • Their capacity for work
  • The worksite assessment conducted by the return to work specialist, and
  • Your business needs.

The return to work specialist will use the results of the trial phase to plan the next phase of the return to work plan with you and your employee.

Graded wage subsidy

The graded wage subsidy is designed to support your business financially, while your employee resumes normal duties or becomes confident in a new role and reaches full productivity.

The graded wage subsidy forms part of an ongoing return to work plan. If it is required, the productivity of your employee is established and the wage subsidy paid to you is based on their productivity while at work.

Productivity is identified by the return to work specialist in collaboration with you and your employee.

For example, if your employee is 70% productive in his/her required duties, the TAC will reimburse you 30% of the wage for the hours worked. The wage subsidy decreases as the employees’ productivity increases.

Workplace modifications and/or equipment

The TAC can consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace modifications or equipment that will assist your employee to return to work safely.

To consider this, a return to work specialist will conduct a worksite assessment and make recommendations to the TAC for any equipment or modifications that are required.

One off payment

Employers may be eligible for a one off payment of up to $1,000, to assist with the administrative costs of supporting a TAC client to return to work.

Your TAC coordinator or return to work specialist can advise whether you are eligible for this payment, and how you can access it.

How do I know if my employee is ready to return to work?

Your employee’s healthcare professional should advise how long they need off work and when they can return.  They should make these recommendations via a certificate of capacity. This should outline which the capacity in which they can return to work. If you have any concerns about your employee returning to work you should discuss this with your employee and their doctor and/or return to work specialist.

The TAC can also provide a range of supports to ensure that your employee has a safe and productive return to work.

Can I expect my employee to be fully fit?

Your employee’s healthcare professional may recommend your employee return to work doing suitable duties. This means they may not yet be fully fit to complete all aspects of the role, however returning to work doing suitable duties will allow them to recover sooner and build productivity.

Depending on the length of time off work and the nature of the injury, your employee may require a graded return to work.

If your employee has any restrictions, you will be made aware of these and you can be supported to make adjustments and/or modifications to their role and/or work environment.

Is there any legal obligation for me to take an injured worker back?

Unlike WorkCover legislation, there are no provisions in the Transport Accident Act 1986 which require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

However, having a valued employee returning to your workplace will be important for your organisation as well as to help your employee recover from their injuries. We will work with you and your employee during the return to work process. We can offer incentives to support you and help ease the financial impact of taking back an employee after an accident.

What happens if I take someone back and they get re-injured?

As part of the employer incentive package we may be able to offer a return to work program that includes WorkCover premium protection.

I’m worried that if I take someone back who isn’t fully fit, my business may suffer due to lost productivity

As part of the employer incentive package we can consider paying a wage subsidy to compensate your business while you support your employee in their return to work.

These subsidies will be developed with the help of a return to work specialist and will be agreed upon by all parties before any return to work program commences so that you know exactly what to expect.

What if modifications are needed to the workplace. Who will pay for this?

The TAC may consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace equipment and/or modifications that will assist with an employee’s return to work. The return to work specialist will assess the worksite and recommend the types of modifications or equipment required.

They will discuss the recommendations with your employee’s treating doctor and advise us on the modifications required. If appropriate, we will then pay for these modifications to help your injured worker return safely.

Who will pay for sick leave if my employee has to have time off for treatment of their accident injuries?

Medical appointments should be outside of work time. However if your employee has to have time off work due to their accident injuries, they need to advise us of this via a certificate of capacity, or a medical report from their treating practitioner.

If approved, we can organise a reimbursement to you for the sick leave taken or pay the TAC client directly for the time they require off work.

How long will the return to work specialist be involved?

The return to work specialist will monitor your employee for a minimum of 12 weeks once their return to work goal has been achieved. In some instances, an employee may need support for a longer period.

If further return to work support is required, contact the TAC coordinator to see what options are available.

How to support your employee

If your employee has been in a transport accident, you will no doubt have a lot of questions.

Returning to work plays an important part in a person’s recovery after injury, and the TAC can provide support to both you and your employee to make the transition safe and successful.

The earlier you and your employee start planning their return, the more likely they are to get back to work quickly and successfully.

If your employee has been injured in a transport accident the TAC can support you to make their return to work safe and successful.

Your employee doesn't need to be fully recovered to get back to work. In fact, returning to work can help your employee recover faster and have a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

It also helps your business retain knowledge and skills and reduce the cost of lost productivity.

There are a few ways you can support your employee's return to work.

  • Check on how they are and stay in regular contact with them.
  • Consider their role and tasks.
  • If they can't return to their normal duties initially, there may be other tasks they could manage.
  • Provide details about your employee's role to their health professional and the TAC. This helps determine when they might be able to work and what they can do.

The TAC can provide a range of support for employers including:

  • A tailored return-to-work plan developed by you, your employee, and a specialist.
  • WorkCover insurance premium protection.
  • A subsidised trial phase if required.
  • Graded wage subsidies to support your business while your employee increases their productivity.
  • Workplace modifications or equipment required post injury.
  • A one off payment to cover administration costs.

For more information on how to support your employee visit tac.vic.gov.au/work or call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Find out what TAC support is available to help your employee return to work after a transport accident.

Benefits of employees returning to work

There are no legal obligations within the Transport Accident Act 1986 which require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

However, there are a numerous benefits to supporting your employee’s return to work.

  • Your employee will recover faster after injury; resuming employment is one of the most effective forms of rehabilitation
  • You retain knowledge and skills, reducing the cost of hiring and training new staff
  • You reduce the cost of lost productivity
  • You help build and maintain morale in the workplace

The TAC can provide a range of supports for you and your employee to make the return as smooth as possible.

Ways you can support your employee

  • Stay in touch with your employee and talk to them about their return to work
  • Have a think about what your employee can do even if it is not their usual duties
  • Be proactive, don’t wait for your employee to contact you about returning to work
  • Contact the TAC if you:
    • have questions or concerns about your employee returning to work
    • would like more information on employer supports
    • have a setback during your employee’s return to work

Roles and responsibilities

Your role

You have an important part to play in your employee’s successful return to work. To assist your employee’s return to work you can:

  • Contact your employee to see how they are recovering and stay in regular contact. This can help your employee stay positive about recovering and returning to work.
  • Consider the role and tasks your employee does. If your employee can’t perform their normal duties straight away there may be other tasks they can do. Your employee doesn’t need to be fully recovered to return to work, and we can support you to ensure a safe return.
  • Provide detail about your employee’s role to the TAC and your employee’s health professional. This information will help to evaluate their capacity for work.
  • Discuss any barriers or support you need with the TAC.

If you are aware of an employee’s disability, legally you must provide what is regarded 'reasonable adjustments' to accommodate the needs of your employee.

Reasonable adjustments let an employee with disability safely perform the essential requirements of their job.

More information about reasonable adjustments, including policy templates and checklists are available on the JobAccess website.

Your employee’s role

Your employee is encouraged to stay in regular contact with you and update you on the progress of their recovery. They should:

  • Contact you to discuss their recovery and return to work
  • Discuss options of returning to work including the potential for alternate duties and/or reduced hours
  • Supply you with certificates of capacity which outline their capacity to work.

The TAC

Our role is to support people injured in transport accidents, and help pay for treatment and services they need to get their lives back on track. This includes working with injured people, their employers and healthcare professionals to return to work.

After your employee’s accident, we will contact you to discuss the return to work process, this includes:

  • Your employee’s potential to return to work
  • The type of work and duties your employee does
  • Any alternate or modified duties that are available
  • Any questions or concerns you may have about your employee’s return to work
  • The support we can provide to ensure a successful return to work.

Healthcare professionals

Your employee’s healthcare professional is the best person to recommend how long they need off work and when they can return. They should:

  • Assess your employee’s capacity for work and recommend what they can and can’t do while they are recovering.
  • Complete a certificate of capacity that will indicate whether your employee is ready to return to work. Your employee may be able to return to their normal duties or it may be recommended they initially perform modified duties or a reduced number of hours depending on how they are recovering from their injuries.
  • Provide advice about any restrictions or equipment needs to support their return to work.
  • Recommend how your employee should best manage a return to work, such as taking regular breaks and/or doing an exercise program.
  • Contact you to discuss suitable options if required.

Return to work specialists

The majority of our clients return to work with the support of their doctor, the TAC and their employer.

Sometimes the services of an independent return to work specialist are needed to provide additional support for clients with particular needs.

They will work with you, your employee and the TAC to plan a tailored return to work plan that meets the needs of you and your employee.

Depending on your employee’s needs, the return to work specialist may:

  • Conduct a worksite assessment to determine an appropriate working environment for your employee
  • Assess and recommend any modifications to your employee’s duties or hours
  • Liaise with your employee’s healthcare professional to ensure hours and duties are appropriate
  • Assess and recommend any physical changes to the workplace or equipment
  • Work with your occupational health and safety manager (if applicable)
  • Develop a return to work plan and monitor your employee’s progress once they return
  • Be the key contact in relation to the return to work plan

What to expect from a return to work plan

During a return to work plan, you are responsible for the usual elements of the employment relationship.

These include supervision, performance management, superannuation, industrial relations, human resources, standard equipment required for the role and all other WorkCover obligations.

Before your employee returns

  1. Your employee’s return to work specialist will conduct a worksite assessment, including a productivity assessment. The initial wage subsidy will be agreed at this stage (if applicable).
  2. The specialist will provide a report cleared by a medical practitioner that confirms your employee’s duties, work hours, wage subsidies and any other recommendations (e.g. equipment needs).
  3. The TAC will confirm the details of the return to work plan, WorkCover premium protection and any subsidy payments.

When your employee returns

  1. Your employee will start work as per the return to work plan.
  2. During the return to work plan you should pay your employee only for the hours they work.
  3. In the case of wage subsidies, either you or your employee should send or email payslips to the TAC. This will ensure you are reimbursed the agreed wage subsidy (for hours worked) and help us calculate any partial income benefit to be paid to our client.
  4. The return to work specialist will conduct regular reviews throughout the return to work plan and will provide progress reports to all parties detailing any changes in productivity, duties and hours to be worked.
  5. There is no set time frame for a return to work plan, however it will normally run for a minimum of 12 weeks. The specialist will finalise the plan once the return to work goals are achieved and sustained.

Sick or annual leave reimbursements for your employee

If your employee is entitled to TAC income support and you pay your employee sick or annual leave for their time off because of their transport accident injuries:

  • The TAC can pay your employee's income support to you
  • You can then credit the equivalent amount of sick or annual leave back to your employee

How it works

  • The TAC does not pay for the first five days a person has from work after a transport accident
  • In most cases, the TAC pays 80% of a person's pre-accident weekly income, up to a maximum amount of $1,430 per week
  • If we pay your employee's income support to you, you will receive a remittance advice. This remittance shows how much we have paid as 'leave reimbursements'.
  • Register for Westpac PaymentsPlus (a free service) to access the remittance online. See Getting paid for details.
  • You can then credit leave back to your employee. See below for an example of how to do this

You and your employee need to complete the 'Authority to pay entitlement: employer form' before the TAC can start to pay you.

You should let your payroll department know about this arrangement before it begins.

The TAC can only pay you if your employee's health professional has completed a Certificate of Capacity. It is a good idea to ask for a copy of your employee's Certificate of Capacity for your records.

How to calculate the leave to credit back to your employee

The best way to credit leave back to your employee is to work out how many hours the TAC income support payment is worth.

For example:

Your employee earns $35 an hour gross.

The TAC pays $1,064 income support to you.

Divide the TAC income support amount by your employee's hourly rate. This will give you the amount of sick or annual leave hours to credit back to your employee. In this case:

$1,064 / 35 = 30.4 hours of leave to credit back.

TAC supports for employers

The following supports are designed to ensure your employee can return to work as safely and productively as possible, while minimising any potential financial impact on your business.

To be eligible, your employee must have an accepted TAC claim and in most cases, a TAC referral to an authorised return to work specialist.

Your TAC coordinator can discuss your eligibility and how to access these supports.

WorkCover insurance premium protection

The TAC can protect your WorkCover insurance premium if your employee is injured or re-injured during a TAC return to work program. This means:

  • Your WorkCover premium is not affected in the event of a workplace injury during a return to work program
  • The TAC will reimburse the WorkCover excess incurred as a result of any WorkCover claim.

The WorkCover insurance premium protection can be provided alone or together with the trial phase or graded wage subsidy.

Some exclusions apply to accessing this incentive. These include:

  • Interstate employers (that is, outside Victoria)
  • Employers who self-insure for WorkCover
  • Employers covered by ComCare
  • Where a WorkCover claim has not been accepted by the TAC’s WorkCover agent.

Trial phase

The return to work specialist may recommend a trial phase as part of a return to work plan.

The trial phase is normally up to 4 weeks in duration and is designed to:

  • Assist your employee to return to their pre-accident working hours and duties, or
  • Trial a new role within the workplace
  • Allow the return to work specialist to fine tune their recommendations, if necessary, before a graded return to work commences.

During the trial phase, the TAC will reimburse you 100% for the hours your employee works. The number of hours they work depends on a number of factors including:

  • Their capacity for work
  • The worksite assessment conducted by the return to work specialist, and
  • Your business needs.

The return to work specialist will use the results of the trial phase to plan the next phase of the return to work plan with you and your employee.

Graded wage subsidy

The graded wage subsidy is designed to support your business financially, while your employee resumes normal duties or becomes confident in a new role and reaches full productivity.

The graded wage subsidy forms part of an ongoing return to work plan. If it is required, the productivity of your employee is established and the wage subsidy paid to you is based on their productivity while at work.

Productivity is identified by the return to work specialist in collaboration with you and your employee.

For example, if your employee is 70% productive in his/her required duties, the TAC will reimburse you 30% of the wage for the hours worked. The wage subsidy decreases as the employees’ productivity increases.

Workplace modifications and/or equipment

The TAC can consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace modifications or equipment that will assist your employee to return to work safely.

To consider this, a return to work specialist will conduct a worksite assessment and make recommendations to the TAC for any equipment or modifications that are required.

One off payment

Employers may be eligible for a one off payment of up to $1,000, to assist with the administrative costs of supporting a TAC client to return to work.

Your TAC coordinator or return to work specialist can advise whether you are eligible for this payment, and how you can access it.

Questions and answers

How do I know if my employee is ready to return to work?

Your employee’s healthcare professional should advise how long they need off work and when they can return.  They should make these recommendations via a certificate of capacity. This should outline which the capacity in which they can return to work. If you have any concerns about your employee returning to work you should discuss this with your employee and their doctor and/or return to work specialist.

The TAC can also provide a range of supports to ensure that your employee has a safe and productive return to work.

Can I expect my employee to be fully fit?

Your employee’s healthcare professional may recommend your employee return to work doing suitable duties. This means they may not yet be fully fit to complete all aspects of the role, however returning to work doing suitable duties will allow them to recover sooner and build productivity.

Depending on the length of time off work and the nature of the injury, your employee may require a graded return to work.

If your employee has any restrictions, you will be made aware of these and you can be supported to make adjustments and/or modifications to their role and/or work environment.

Is there any legal obligation for me to take an injured worker back?

Unlike WorkCover legislation, there are no provisions in the Transport Accident Act 1986 which require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

However, having a valued employee returning to your workplace will be important for your organisation as well as to help your employee recover from their injuries. We will work with you and your employee during the return to work process. We can offer incentives to support you and help ease the financial impact of taking back an employee after an accident.

What happens if I take someone back and they get re-injured?

As part of the employer incentive package we may be able to offer a return to work program that includes WorkCover premium protection.

I’m worried that if I take someone back who isn’t fully fit, my business may suffer due to lost productivity

As part of the employer incentive package we can consider paying a wage subsidy to compensate your business while you support your employee in their return to work.

These subsidies will be developed with the help of a return to work specialist and will be agreed upon by all parties before any return to work program commences so that you know exactly what to expect.

What if modifications are needed to the workplace. Who will pay for this?

The TAC may consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace equipment and/or modifications that will assist with an employee’s return to work. The return to work specialist will assess the worksite and recommend the types of modifications or equipment required.

They will discuss the recommendations with your employee’s treating doctor and advise us on the modifications required. If appropriate, we will then pay for these modifications to help your injured worker return safely.

Who will pay for sick leave if my employee has to have time off for treatment of their accident injuries?

Medical appointments should be outside of work time. However if your employee has to have time off work due to their accident injuries, they need to advise us of this via a certificate of capacity, or a medical report from their treating practitioner.

If approved, we can organise a reimbursement to you for the sick leave taken or pay the TAC client directly for the time they require off work.

How long will the return to work specialist be involved?

The return to work specialist will monitor your employee for a minimum of 12 weeks once their return to work goal has been achieved. In some instances, an employee may need support for a longer period.

If further return to work support is required, contact the TAC coordinator to see what options are available.