For people returning to work for the same employer

Returning to work plays an important part in your recovery.

You don’t have to be fully recovered to return to work. The earlier you start planning your return, the more likely you are to get back to work quickly.

Often, returning to work can help you recover faster. It can help you:

  • set clear goals,
  • reintroduce daily routines, and
  • help you to focus on what you can do, rather than the limitations of your injury.

Returning to work is an important part of your recovery after an accident.

Being at work can help you recover faster and benefits your health and wellbeing.

You don't have to be fully recovered to get back to work.

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

Remember, the most important person in your return to work is you.

Here are some tips to help you get back to work.

  • Stay positive, focus on what you can do and keep as active as possible.
  • Ask your health professionals for advice about how you can prepare for your return to work.
  • Stay in touch with your employer and let them know how you're going.
  • Ask what options you have for alternate duties or a gradual return to work.
  • Set goals to work towards.
  • Talk to family and friends about how they can help you.

You can also contact the TAC to see how we can support you and your employer.

This could include:

  • Help from a work specialist to help you plan and identify any support you need for your return to work.
  • A tailored return to work plan.
  • Travel to work benefits.
  • Equipment or modifications to your workplace.
  • Allied health and mental health services, or income support.

For more information on how the TAC can support you getting back to work, visit tac.gov.au/work or call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Find out how the TAC can support your return to work after a transport accident.

Who can support your return to work

You

The most important person in your return to work is you.

By taking an active role in your recovery and working with others who can support you, you are more likely to have a positive and successful return to work.

To help your return to work you can:

  • Stay in contact with your employer and your health professional to discuss your return to work
  • Keep your employer up to date with your progress and ask them about options to return to work
  • Talk to the TAC about the support we can provide you and your employer

Find out more about the steps to a successful return to work

The TAC

Our role is to ensure you have the right services and supports in place to help you with a successful return to work. In some cases, you might work with more than one person at the TAC.

We will work with you, your employer, and any health professionals or support services you may need.

After your accident, we will contact you to:

  • Find out how you are progressing in your recovery
  • Talk about your type of work and your plans to return
  • Explain what options and supports are available to make your return as smooth as possible.
  • Coordinate any additional services or referrals to support your return to work.

Find out more about how the TAC can support you

Your employer

Your employer plays an important part in your return to work. They may be able to help you return to work sooner by finding alternative duties for you while you recover, and/or offering you reduced hours.

It is important that you keep your employer up to date with your recovery and discuss these options with them.

The TAC has a range of supports that may be offered to your employer to help this process.

If your employer can’t find suitable duties for you, or isn’t able to offer you reduced hours, the TAC will continue to support your return to work. You may also be eligible for income support while you are getting ready to return to work.

Your health professional

Your health professional is the best person to recommend how long you need off work and when you can return. For example, this could be your GP, physio, surgeon or chiropractor. They can:

  • Tell you what you can and can’t do while you are recovering
  • Discuss with you the most suitable options for your return to work
  • Provide advice on whether there are any restrictions or equipment needed for your return to work
  • Advise you on how to best manage your return to work, such as when to take breaks and when to do exercises.

Your health professional should use a Certificate of Capacity to make these recommendations.

They can also talk about your options with your employer so that suitable duties can be found for you while you are recovering.

Return to work specialist

In some cases, we may refer you to a return to work specialist to support your return to work.

They can work with you, your employer and health professional to help you get back to work safely and successfully. They may also make recommendations and develop a return to work plan.

Find out more about return to work specialists

Steps to a successful return to work

After your accident

  1. As soon as you are able, contact your employer to discuss your potential return to work. You don’t have to fully recovered or have a clear return to date before you start the conversation.
  2. Find out if there is an occupational health and safety officer or human resources officer at your work who can support you.
  3. Discuss your job with your health professional (such as a GP, physiotherapist or surgeon) to assess how long you need off work, when you can return and what the suitable options are.
  4. Ask your health professional to complete a Certificate of Capacity for your employer and the TAC. You can also ask them about what you can do as part of your recovery to help prepare for your return to work.

Preparing to return

  1. Keep your employer up to date with your progress, and send them copies of your certificates of capacity.
  2. Talk to your employer about your options to return to work. This might include reduced hours or alternative duties. Your health professional or a vocational service provider can also support this conversation.
  3. Set goals for your return to work and try to keep positive and motivated – focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
  4. If appropriate, arrange catch ups with your work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain your work relationships.

When you return

  1. Once you return to work, even if it’s part-time, you must tell the TAC so that any income support you are eligible for can be calculated and paid correctly.
  2. You can choose whether to discuss your injuries and any limitations at work. It may be helpful for your colleagues to understand what you can and can’t do, or why your duties may have changed.
  3. It is important that you feel safe at work. If you need help having conversations with your peers, you should speak to your manager, occupational health and safety officer or human resources officer.
  4. Regularly review your return to work arrangements and continue to discuss your recovery progress with your employer, health professional and/or return to work specialist (if applicable).
  5. If you have any issues or concerns, you should first discuss this with your employer or return to work specialist. If you need further support, please contact the TAC. We can recommend the next steps to take to help you resolve any issues you are facing.
  6. Find out what to do if you have a flare up of your injury.

Things to remember

  • The most important person in your return to work is you
  • Set goals for your return to work
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than your limitations
  • Seek advice from your health professional
  • Stay in touch with your employer and let them know how you’re going
  • Contact the TAC if you have questions or a set back

How the TAC can support you

The TAC can provide a range of services and benefits to support your return to work. Your TAC claims manager will discuss these options with you and let you know how to access them.

Income support

If you are already receiving income support from the TAC, we can continue to offer this benefit until you are fit to fully return to work.

Once you return to work, even if it’s on reduced hours, you must contact the TAC so that your income support can be calculated correctly.

Generally, if you go back to work and your pay is less than the TAC paid you before you returned to work, we can top-up your pay.

Find out more about income support and return to work

Travel to work benefit

If you are unable to travel to work in your usual way because of your accident injuries, you may be eligible for a ’travel to work’ benefit.

The TAC will work with you and your health professional to assess your eligibility. For example, if you drove to work before your accident, but aren’t able to drive at the moment because you have a leg injury, the TAC can reimburse your alternative travel costs.

Your health professional should provide a written request which states that you are not able to travel to work in your usual way. They should also recommend other forms of suitable transport, for example, public transport.

We can pay the travel to work benefit for a maximum of 24 weeks and it is capped at a maximum of $1,550. This amount is updated every year on 1 July.

Return to work plan

If you require extra support to return to work because of your accident injuries, we may recommend a return to work plan.

In most cases, we will refer you to a return to work specialist who will develop the plan with you.

Your plan will be based on what you can do and what you need for a successful return to work. This usually includes:

  • an assessment of your workplace and role to find out if you need any changes to support your return
  • an outline of your expected duties and hours
  • recommendations for any workplace modifications or equipment
  • details of any supports the TAC will provide to your employer

The return to work specialist will ensure your plan is agreed to by you, your employer and your health professional before you return to work. They will also monitor your progress once you return.

Allied health and mental health services

Allied health services include a range of treatments to help you move better, relieve pain or improve function. They include treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology.

Mental health services include treatment or counselling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these services to help you physically and/or mentally prepare for and return to work.

The TAC may consider paying for these services when they are related to your transport accident injuries and support your return to work plan.

Employer supports

The TAC can offer your employer a range of supports as part of your return to work plan, to help make your return as smooth as possible. These include:

  • WorkCover Insurance premium protection for the period of your return to work plan (exclusions apply)
  • Wage subsidies to compensate your employer financially, while you return to your normal hours and duties
  • Paying for modifications to your workplace
  • Purchasing equipment to help with your return to work
  • One-off payment to help with administrative costs.

Your employer may also be eligible for other government support.

More information for employers is available on our employer page

If you have a pre-existing disability or new disability as a result of your accident, there are some services that can support your return to work.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Employment services

Supported Employment Service

The Supported Employment Service can help a person with a disability enter or re-enter the workforce, develop job skills and prepare to work in the open employment market. It connects eligible TAC clients with an Australian Disability Enterprise, which employs people with a disability in a supported work environment.

Find out how a Supported Employment Service may be able to help you return to work

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability to find work and keep a job.

These services are government funded for eligible people, and can include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training. You can also get help with job searching, and ongoing support at work for you and your employer.

Your TAC claims manager can talk about your support options if you are considering a DES provider.

More information about DES and other disability employment support is available on the JobAccess website jobaccess.gov.au/home

IncludeAbility

IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was developed to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability. It aims to close the gap in workforce participation between people with disability and people without disability.

IncludeAbility is designed to support:

  • employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability
  • people with disability seeking employment, developing a career or considering self-employment.

Find out more at the IncludeAbility website

Choose a TAC Vocational service provider

A vocational service provider is an organisation that employs qualified return to work specialists.

Their aim is to help you return to work safely and successfully.

There are a number of reasons why the TAC may refer you to a return to work specialist. Generally, this is when you need extra support for your return to work.

Depending on your needs, a return to work specialist can:

  • Assess your current skills and abilities
  • Assess your workplace to see what support you need
  • Work with your employer and health professionals to explore your return to work options
  • Prepare a personalised return to work plan
  • Recommend modifications or equipment for your workplace
  • Recommend and organise retraining programs
  • Provide career guidance
  • Help you find and apply for a new job
  • Help you prepare your resume and provide interview training

Vocational rehabilitation programs

If you are looking for new or different work options because of your accident injuries, your return to work specialist will develop a vocational rehabilitation program.

This program is designed to prepare and help you to secure new job opportunities. It may include:

  • Skill development and/or retraining programs
  • Job seeking and interview preparation
  • Trial periods
  • A return to work plan, agreed to with your health professional and new employer

As part of the program, we expect that you will:

  • Return phone calls to your return to work specialist, your employer and  the TAC
  • Attend appointments, course sessions, job interviews and work regularly and on time
  • Participate in agreed vocational or return to work programs
  • Identify and apply for suitable jobs independently
  • Accept reasonable offers for job interviews
  • Attend job interviews
  • Provide evidence of job seeking (e.g. job diaries documenting jobs you’ve applied for)
  • Accept reasonable offers of employment.

Through this program, the TAC provides you with a reasonable offer of vocational rehabilitation. By law, if you choose not to take part, we may be unable to pay your income benefits.

How do I know if I am ready to return to work?

You should visit your doctor and discuss this with them. They are in the best position to advise you on your capacity to work and any tasks you should modify or avoid to prevent a flare up.

If you aren’t able to go back to work at full capacity, speak to your employer and the TAC about alternative duties. Even if you aren’t ready to go back to work full-time, you may be able to return to light duties to help with your recovery.

Does my employer have to keep my job open? What assistance can the TAC give to my employer?

There are no provisions in the Transport Accident Act 1986 that require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

If your employer has indicated that they may not be able to keep your job open while you recover from your injury, you should contact the TAC to discuss what options are available.

The TAC can offer your employer a range of supports to help with your return to work. This could include a wage subsidy paid to your employer to compensate the cost of supporting you in your return to work. The TAC may also be able to offer WorkCover insurance premium protection as part of a return to work plan.

What is the difference between a return to work plan and a vocational rehabilitation plan?

Both plans can be developed by a return to work specialist, but they have different purposes.

A vocational rehabilitation plan is designed to help you find and secure work. You might need this if you can’t return to your previous job, or if you were unemployed at the time of your accident.

A return to work plan is designed to support your return to the workplace, either with the same employer or a new one. This is signed off by your health professional and agreed to with your employer.

Sometimes, a return to work plan will form part of your vocational rehabilitation plan, once you have secured work.

What happens if I have a flare up or can’t continue my return to work plan?

If you have a flare up to your accident injury you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should provide you with a certificate of capacity stating what impact this has had on your capacity to work.

You should contact the TAC if you have any difficulties coping with your workload or accident injury. The TAC will work with you, your doctor and your employer to find the best way of managing your return to work.

What happens if I have time off because of surgery?

You should contact the TAC for prior approval before having any accident-related surgery.

If, after you have returned to work, you need more time off because of TAC approved surgery, you should also obtain a certificate of capacity from your doctor which details how your capacity to work is affected and how long it will be affected.

Where appropriate your return to work program will be modified to accommodate this time off. The TAC will continue to support you in your return to work as long as you have a certificate of capacity.

If I lose my job will the TAC help me find a new one?

If you are no longer employed because of your accident injuries, the TAC can help you with job seeking services as part of a return to work program.

If you have returned to work, and then lose your job, you might also be eligible for the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB).

If you have lost your job because of your accident, please call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Returning to work plays an important part in your recovery.

You don’t have to be fully recovered to return to work. The earlier you start planning your return, the more likely you are to get back to work quickly.

Often, returning to work can help you recover faster. It can help you:

  • set clear goals,
  • reintroduce daily routines, and
  • help you to focus on what you can do, rather than the limitations of your injury.

Returning to work is an important part of your recovery after an accident.

Being at work can help you recover faster and benefits your health and wellbeing.

You don't have to be fully recovered to get back to work.

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

Remember, the most important person in your return to work is you.

Here are some tips to help you get back to work.

  • Stay positive, focus on what you can do and keep as active as possible.
  • Ask your health professionals for advice about how you can prepare for your return to work.
  • Stay in touch with your employer and let them know how you're going.
  • Ask what options you have for alternate duties or a gradual return to work.
  • Set goals to work towards.
  • Talk to family and friends about how they can help you.

You can also contact the TAC to see how we can support you and your employer.

This could include:

  • Help from a work specialist to help you plan and identify any support you need for your return to work.
  • A tailored return to work plan.
  • Travel to work benefits.
  • Equipment or modifications to your workplace.
  • Allied health and mental health services, or income support.

For more information on how the TAC can support you getting back to work, visit tac.gov.au/work or call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Find out how the TAC can support your return to work after a transport accident.

Who can support your return to work

You

The most important person in your return to work is you.

By taking an active role in your recovery and working with others who can support you, you are more likely to have a positive and successful return to work.

To help your return to work you can:

  • Stay in contact with your employer and your health professional to discuss your return to work
  • Keep your employer up to date with your progress and ask them about options to return to work
  • Talk to the TAC about the support we can provide you and your employer

Find out more about the steps to a successful return to work

The TAC

Our role is to ensure you have the right services and supports in place to help you with a successful return to work. In some cases, you might work with more than one person at the TAC.

We will work with you, your employer, and any health professionals or support services you may need.

After your accident, we will contact you to:

  • Find out how you are progressing in your recovery
  • Talk about your type of work and your plans to return
  • Explain what options and supports are available to make your return as smooth as possible.
  • Coordinate any additional services or referrals to support your return to work.

Find out more about how the TAC can support you

Your employer

Your employer plays an important part in your return to work. They may be able to help you return to work sooner by finding alternative duties for you while you recover, and/or offering you reduced hours.

It is important that you keep your employer up to date with your recovery and discuss these options with them.

The TAC has a range of supports that may be offered to your employer to help this process.

If your employer can’t find suitable duties for you, or isn’t able to offer you reduced hours, the TAC will continue to support your return to work. You may also be eligible for income support while you are getting ready to return to work.

Your health professional

Your health professional is the best person to recommend how long you need off work and when you can return. For example, this could be your GP, physio, surgeon or chiropractor. They can:

  • Tell you what you can and can’t do while you are recovering
  • Discuss with you the most suitable options for your return to work
  • Provide advice on whether there are any restrictions or equipment needed for your return to work
  • Advise you on how to best manage your return to work, such as when to take breaks and when to do exercises.

Your health professional should use a Certificate of Capacity to make these recommendations.

They can also talk about your options with your employer so that suitable duties can be found for you while you are recovering.

Return to work specialist

In some cases, we may refer you to a return to work specialist to support your return to work.

They can work with you, your employer and health professional to help you get back to work safely and successfully. They may also make recommendations and develop a return to work plan.

Find out more about return to work specialists

Steps to a successful return to work

After your accident

  1. As soon as you are able, contact your employer to discuss your potential return to work. You don’t have to fully recovered or have a clear return to date before you start the conversation.
  2. Find out if there is an occupational health and safety officer or human resources officer at your work who can support you.
  3. Discuss your job with your health professional (such as a GP, physiotherapist or surgeon) to assess how long you need off work, when you can return and what the suitable options are.
  4. Ask your health professional to complete a Certificate of Capacity for your employer and the TAC. You can also ask them about what you can do as part of your recovery to help prepare for your return to work.

Preparing to return

  1. Keep your employer up to date with your progress, and send them copies of your certificates of capacity.
  2. Talk to your employer about your options to return to work. This might include reduced hours or alternative duties. Your health professional or a vocational service provider can also support this conversation.
  3. Set goals for your return to work and try to keep positive and motivated – focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
  4. If appropriate, arrange catch ups with your work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain your work relationships.

When you return

  1. Once you return to work, even if it’s part-time, you must tell the TAC so that any income support you are eligible for can be calculated and paid correctly.
  2. You can choose whether to discuss your injuries and any limitations at work. It may be helpful for your colleagues to understand what you can and can’t do, or why your duties may have changed.
  3. It is important that you feel safe at work. If you need help having conversations with your peers, you should speak to your manager, occupational health and safety officer or human resources officer.
  4. Regularly review your return to work arrangements and continue to discuss your recovery progress with your employer, health professional and/or return to work specialist (if applicable).
  5. If you have any issues or concerns, you should first discuss this with your employer or return to work specialist. If you need further support, please contact the TAC. We can recommend the next steps to take to help you resolve any issues you are facing.
  6. Find out what to do if you have a flare up of your injury.

Things to remember

  • The most important person in your return to work is you
  • Set goals for your return to work
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than your limitations
  • Seek advice from your health professional
  • Stay in touch with your employer and let them know how you’re going
  • Contact the TAC if you have questions or a set back

How the TAC can support you

The TAC can provide a range of services and benefits to support your return to work. Your TAC claims manager will discuss these options with you and let you know how to access them.

Income support

If you are already receiving income support from the TAC, we can continue to offer this benefit until you are fit to fully return to work.

Once you return to work, even if it’s on reduced hours, you must contact the TAC so that your income support can be calculated correctly.

Generally, if you go back to work and your pay is less than the TAC paid you before you returned to work, we can top-up your pay.

Find out more about income support and return to work

Travel to work benefit

If you are unable to travel to work in your usual way because of your accident injuries, you may be eligible for a ’travel to work’ benefit.

The TAC will work with you and your health professional to assess your eligibility. For example, if you drove to work before your accident, but aren’t able to drive at the moment because you have a leg injury, the TAC can reimburse your alternative travel costs.

Your health professional should provide a written request which states that you are not able to travel to work in your usual way. They should also recommend other forms of suitable transport, for example, public transport.

We can pay the travel to work benefit for a maximum of 24 weeks and it is capped at a maximum of $1,550. This amount is updated every year on 1 July.

Return to work plan

If you require extra support to return to work because of your accident injuries, we may recommend a return to work plan.

In most cases, we will refer you to a return to work specialist who will develop the plan with you.

Your plan will be based on what you can do and what you need for a successful return to work. This usually includes:

  • an assessment of your workplace and role to find out if you need any changes to support your return
  • an outline of your expected duties and hours
  • recommendations for any workplace modifications or equipment
  • details of any supports the TAC will provide to your employer

The return to work specialist will ensure your plan is agreed to by you, your employer and your health professional before you return to work. They will also monitor your progress once you return.

Allied health and mental health services

Allied health services include a range of treatments to help you move better, relieve pain or improve function. They include treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology.

Mental health services include treatment or counselling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these services to help you physically and/or mentally prepare for and return to work.

The TAC may consider paying for these services when they are related to your transport accident injuries and support your return to work plan.

Employer supports

The TAC can offer your employer a range of supports as part of your return to work plan, to help make your return as smooth as possible. These include:

  • WorkCover Insurance premium protection for the period of your return to work plan (exclusions apply)
  • Wage subsidies to compensate your employer financially, while you return to your normal hours and duties
  • Paying for modifications to your workplace
  • Purchasing equipment to help with your return to work
  • One-off payment to help with administrative costs.

Your employer may also be eligible for other government support.

More information for employers is available on our employer page

If you have a pre-existing disability or new disability as a result of your accident, there are some services that can support your return to work.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Employment services

Supported Employment Service

The Supported Employment Service can help a person with a disability enter or re-enter the workforce, develop job skills and prepare to work in the open employment market. It connects eligible TAC clients with an Australian Disability Enterprise, which employs people with a disability in a supported work environment.

Find out how a Supported Employment Service may be able to help you return to work

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability to find work and keep a job.

These services are government funded for eligible people, and can include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training. You can also get help with job searching, and ongoing support at work for you and your employer.

Your TAC claims manager can talk about your support options if you are considering a DES provider.

More information about DES and other disability employment support is available on the JobAccess website jobaccess.gov.au/home

IncludeAbility

IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was developed to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability. It aims to close the gap in workforce participation between people with disability and people without disability.

IncludeAbility is designed to support:

  • employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability
  • people with disability seeking employment, developing a career or considering self-employment.

Find out more at the IncludeAbility website

Choose a TAC Vocational service provider

A vocational service provider is an organisation that employs qualified return to work specialists.

Their aim is to help you return to work safely and successfully.

There are a number of reasons why the TAC may refer you to a return to work specialist. Generally, this is when you need extra support for your return to work.

Depending on your needs, a return to work specialist can:

  • Assess your current skills and abilities
  • Assess your workplace to see what support you need
  • Work with your employer and health professionals to explore your return to work options
  • Prepare a personalised return to work plan
  • Recommend modifications or equipment for your workplace
  • Recommend and organise retraining programs
  • Provide career guidance
  • Help you find and apply for a new job
  • Help you prepare your resume and provide interview training

Vocational rehabilitation programs

If you are looking for new or different work options because of your accident injuries, your return to work specialist will develop a vocational rehabilitation program.

This program is designed to prepare and help you to secure new job opportunities. It may include:

  • Skill development and/or retraining programs
  • Job seeking and interview preparation
  • Trial periods
  • A return to work plan, agreed to with your health professional and new employer

As part of the program, we expect that you will:

  • Return phone calls to your return to work specialist, your employer and  the TAC
  • Attend appointments, course sessions, job interviews and work regularly and on time
  • Participate in agreed vocational or return to work programs
  • Identify and apply for suitable jobs independently
  • Accept reasonable offers for job interviews
  • Attend job interviews
  • Provide evidence of job seeking (e.g. job diaries documenting jobs you’ve applied for)
  • Accept reasonable offers of employment.

Through this program, the TAC provides you with a reasonable offer of vocational rehabilitation. By law, if you choose not to take part, we may be unable to pay your income benefits.

How do I know if I am ready to return to work?

You should visit your doctor and discuss this with them. They are in the best position to advise you on your capacity to work and any tasks you should modify or avoid to prevent a flare up.

If you aren’t able to go back to work at full capacity, speak to your employer and the TAC about alternative duties. Even if you aren’t ready to go back to work full-time, you may be able to return to light duties to help with your recovery.

Does my employer have to keep my job open? What assistance can the TAC give to my employer?

There are no provisions in the Transport Accident Act 1986 that require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

If your employer has indicated that they may not be able to keep your job open while you recover from your injury, you should contact the TAC to discuss what options are available.

The TAC can offer your employer a range of supports to help with your return to work. This could include a wage subsidy paid to your employer to compensate the cost of supporting you in your return to work. The TAC may also be able to offer WorkCover insurance premium protection as part of a return to work plan.

What is the difference between a return to work plan and a vocational rehabilitation plan?

Both plans can be developed by a return to work specialist, but they have different purposes.

A vocational rehabilitation plan is designed to help you find and secure work. You might need this if you can’t return to your previous job, or if you were unemployed at the time of your accident.

A return to work plan is designed to support your return to the workplace, either with the same employer or a new one. This is signed off by your health professional and agreed to with your employer.

Sometimes, a return to work plan will form part of your vocational rehabilitation plan, once you have secured work.

What happens if I have a flare up or can’t continue my return to work plan?

If you have a flare up to your accident injury you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should provide you with a certificate of capacity stating what impact this has had on your capacity to work.

You should contact the TAC if you have any difficulties coping with your workload or accident injury. The TAC will work with you, your doctor and your employer to find the best way of managing your return to work.

What happens if I have time off because of surgery?

You should contact the TAC for prior approval before having any accident-related surgery.

If, after you have returned to work, you need more time off because of TAC approved surgery, you should also obtain a certificate of capacity from your doctor which details how your capacity to work is affected and how long it will be affected.

Where appropriate your return to work program will be modified to accommodate this time off. The TAC will continue to support you in your return to work as long as you have a certificate of capacity.

If I lose my job will the TAC help me find a new one?

If you are no longer employed because of your accident injuries, the TAC can help you with job seeking services as part of a return to work program.

If you have returned to work, and then lose your job, you might also be eligible for the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB).

If you have lost your job because of your accident, please call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Return to work

Returning to work plays an important part in your recovery.

You don’t have to be fully recovered to return to work. The earlier you start planning your return, the more likely you are to get back to work quickly.

Often, returning to work can help you recover faster. It can help you:

  • set clear goals,
  • reintroduce daily routines, and
  • help you to focus on what you can do, rather than the limitations of your injury.

Returning to work is an important part of your recovery after an accident.

Being at work can help you recover faster and benefits your health and wellbeing.

You don't have to be fully recovered to get back to work.

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

Remember, the most important person in your return to work is you.

Here are some tips to help you get back to work.

  • Stay positive, focus on what you can do and keep as active as possible.
  • Ask your health professionals for advice about how you can prepare for your return to work.
  • Stay in touch with your employer and let them know how you're going.
  • Ask what options you have for alternate duties or a gradual return to work.
  • Set goals to work towards.
  • Talk to family and friends about how they can help you.

You can also contact the TAC to see how we can support you and your employer.

This could include:

  • Help from a work specialist to help you plan and identify any support you need for your return to work.
  • A tailored return to work plan.
  • Travel to work benefits.
  • Equipment or modifications to your workplace.
  • Allied health and mental health services, or income support.

For more information on how the TAC can support you getting back to work, visit tac.gov.au/work or call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.

Find out how the TAC can support your return to work after a transport accident.

Who can support your return to work

You

The most important person in your return to work is you.

By taking an active role in your recovery and working with others who can support you, you are more likely to have a positive and successful return to work.

To help your return to work you can:

  • Stay in contact with your employer and your health professional to discuss your return to work
  • Keep your employer up to date with your progress and ask them about options to return to work
  • Talk to the TAC about the support we can provide you and your employer

Find out more about the steps to a successful return to work

The TAC

Our role is to ensure you have the right services and supports in place to help you with a successful return to work. In some cases, you might work with more than one person at the TAC.

We will work with you, your employer, and any health professionals or support services you may need.

After your accident, we will contact you to:

  • Find out how you are progressing in your recovery
  • Talk about your type of work and your plans to return
  • Explain what options and supports are available to make your return as smooth as possible.
  • Coordinate any additional services or referrals to support your return to work.

Find out more about how the TAC can support you

Your employer

Your employer plays an important part in your return to work. They may be able to help you return to work sooner by finding alternative duties for you while you recover, and/or offering you reduced hours.

It is important that you keep your employer up to date with your recovery and discuss these options with them.

The TAC has a range of supports that may be offered to your employer to help this process.

If your employer can’t find suitable duties for you, or isn’t able to offer you reduced hours, the TAC will continue to support your return to work. You may also be eligible for income support while you are getting ready to return to work.

Your health professional

Your health professional is the best person to recommend how long you need off work and when you can return. For example, this could be your GP, physio, surgeon or chiropractor. They can:

  • Tell you what you can and can’t do while you are recovering
  • Discuss with you the most suitable options for your return to work
  • Provide advice on whether there are any restrictions or equipment needed for your return to work
  • Advise you on how to best manage your return to work, such as when to take breaks and when to do exercises.

Your health professional should use a Certificate of Capacity to make these recommendations.

They can also talk about your options with your employer so that suitable duties can be found for you while you are recovering.

Return to work specialist

In some cases, we may refer you to a return to work specialist to support your return to work.

They can work with you, your employer and health professional to help you get back to work safely and successfully. They may also make recommendations and develop a return to work plan.

Find out more about return to work specialists

Steps to a successful return to work

After your accident

  1. As soon as you are able, contact your employer to discuss your potential return to work. You don’t have to fully recovered or have a clear return to date before you start the conversation.
  2. Find out if there is an occupational health and safety officer or human resources officer at your work who can support you.
  3. Discuss your job with your health professional (such as a GP, physiotherapist or surgeon) to assess how long you need off work, when you can return and what the suitable options are.
  4. Ask your health professional to complete a Certificate of Capacity for your employer and the TAC. You can also ask them about what you can do as part of your recovery to help prepare for your return to work.

Preparing to return

  1. Keep your employer up to date with your progress, and send them copies of your certificates of capacity.
  2. Talk to your employer about your options to return to work. This might include reduced hours or alternative duties. Your health professional or a vocational service provider can also support this conversation.
  3. Set goals for your return to work and try to keep positive and motivated – focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
  4. If appropriate, arrange catch ups with your work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain your work relationships.

When you return

  1. Once you return to work, even if it’s part-time, you must tell the TAC so that any income support you are eligible for can be calculated and paid correctly.
  2. You can choose whether to discuss your injuries and any limitations at work. It may be helpful for your colleagues to understand what you can and can’t do, or why your duties may have changed.
  3. It is important that you feel safe at work. If you need help having conversations with your peers, you should speak to your manager, occupational health and safety officer or human resources officer.
  4. Regularly review your return to work arrangements and continue to discuss your recovery progress with your employer, health professional and/or return to work specialist (if applicable).
  5. If you have any issues or concerns, you should first discuss this with your employer or return to work specialist. If you need further support, please contact the TAC. We can recommend the next steps to take to help you resolve any issues you are facing.
  6. Find out what to do if you have a flare up of your injury.

Things to remember

  • The most important person in your return to work is you
  • Set goals for your return to work
  • Focus on what you can do, rather than your limitations
  • Seek advice from your health professional
  • Stay in touch with your employer and let them know how you’re going
  • Contact the TAC if you have questions or a set back

How the TAC can support you

The TAC can provide a range of services and benefits to support your return to work. Your TAC claims manager will discuss these options with you and let you know how to access them.

Income support

If you are already receiving income support from the TAC, we can continue to offer this benefit until you are fit to fully return to work.

Once you return to work, even if it’s on reduced hours, you must contact the TAC so that your income support can be calculated correctly.

Generally, if you go back to work and your pay is less than the TAC paid you before you returned to work, we can top-up your pay.

Find out more about income support and return to work

Travel to work benefit

If you are unable to travel to work in your usual way because of your accident injuries, you may be eligible for a ’travel to work’ benefit.

The TAC will work with you and your health professional to assess your eligibility. For example, if you drove to work before your accident, but aren’t able to drive at the moment because you have a leg injury, the TAC can reimburse your alternative travel costs.

Your health professional should provide a written request which states that you are not able to travel to work in your usual way. They should also recommend other forms of suitable transport, for example, public transport.

We can pay the travel to work benefit for a maximum of 24 weeks and it is capped at a maximum of $1,550. This amount is updated every year on 1 July.

Return to work plan

If you require extra support to return to work because of your accident injuries, we may recommend a return to work plan.

In most cases, we will refer you to a return to work specialist who will develop the plan with you.

Your plan will be based on what you can do and what you need for a successful return to work. This usually includes:

  • an assessment of your workplace and role to find out if you need any changes to support your return
  • an outline of your expected duties and hours
  • recommendations for any workplace modifications or equipment
  • details of any supports the TAC will provide to your employer

The return to work specialist will ensure your plan is agreed to by you, your employer and your health professional before you return to work. They will also monitor your progress once you return.

Allied health and mental health services

Allied health services include a range of treatments to help you move better, relieve pain or improve function. They include treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise physiology.

Mental health services include treatment or counselling from psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.

Your healthcare professional may recommend one or more of these services to help you physically and/or mentally prepare for and return to work.

The TAC may consider paying for these services when they are related to your transport accident injuries and support your return to work plan.

Employer supports

The TAC can offer your employer a range of supports as part of your return to work plan, to help make your return as smooth as possible. These include:

  • WorkCover Insurance premium protection for the period of your return to work plan (exclusions apply)
  • Wage subsidies to compensate your employer financially, while you return to your normal hours and duties
  • Paying for modifications to your workplace
  • Purchasing equipment to help with your return to work
  • One-off payment to help with administrative costs.

Your employer may also be eligible for other government support.

More information for employers is available on our employer page

For people with disability

If you have a pre-existing disability or new disability as a result of your accident, there are some services that can support your return to work.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Talking about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job

Many people need to decide if they should talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job. There are laws in Australia that protect the rights of people with disability, to make sure they are  treated fairly. Even so, people can still be afraid to talk about their injury or disability with their employer.

Here are some things to think about before you decide to talk about an injury or disability.

Do you need to tell?

It is up to you whether you talk about your injury or disability.

By law, you do not need to talk about an injury or disability, unless your injury or disability will affect:

  • Your ability to do the main parts of your job, or
  • Your safety and the safety of others in the work place.

It’s a good idea to talk to your treating team or vocational provider to work out if, by law, you need to talk about an injury or disability at work or when applying for a job.

The benefits of telling an employer you have an injury or disability

  • Your experience of injury or disability is valued,
  • It might help you to get the support or changes you need in the workplace,
  • If you have any workplace or performance issues, you might get more support and understanding about how to manage them,
  • You might be able to talk openly about any fears or concerns you have about your role or starting in the workplace.

If you decide to talk about an injury or disability

How and when you decide to talk about an injury or disability is important.  You might think about whether you should:

  • Put it in your application or resume,
  • Wait until your interview, or
  • Let your employer know once you start work.

The best time can depend on many things.

Generally, you do not need to mention your injury or disability in your application or resume. However, you might need to if your injury or disability:

  • Might affect  your ability to do your job,
  • Might affect your safety at work, or the safety of others,
  • Relates to the position or organisation you have applied for,
  • Means that changes to the role or selection process are needed.

You might also mention your injury or disability in your application or resume if you know the workplace supports employing people with a disability. A workplace that supports employing people with a disability will often include questions about disability in their application process.

If you don’t need to mention your injury in your application or resume, you can decide whether to talk about it in your interview or wait until you have started your job and feel ready to do so.

Tips

  • Plan with your treating team or vocational provider how you will tell your employer about your injury or disability and what you will say,
  • Focus on your personal strengths, qualities and achievements,
  • Provide clear information and offer to help organise any changes or supports if you need them,
  • Only talk about things that are work related,
  • Let your employer know if there are any other supports available to the workplace, such as the supports the TAC can provide.

Where to get help

Talking about an injury or disability is not always an easy decision to make. You can speak to your treating team, vocational provider, friends and family to help make your decision.

You can also call the TAC on 1300 654 329 for support and advice.

More information on this topic is also available at the Human Rights Commission website.

Employment services

Supported Employment Service

The Supported Employment Service can help a person with a disability enter or re-enter the workforce, develop job skills and prepare to work in the open employment market. It connects eligible TAC clients with an Australian Disability Enterprise, which employs people with a disability in a supported work environment.

Find out how a Supported Employment Service may be able to help you return to work

Disability Employment Services

Disability Employment Services (DES) is the Australian Government’s employment service that helps people with a disability to find work and keep a job.

These services are government funded for eligible people, and can include career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training. You can also get help with job searching, and ongoing support at work for you and your employer.

Your TAC claims manager can talk about your support options if you are considering a DES provider.

More information about DES and other disability employment support is available on the JobAccess website jobaccess.gov.au/home

IncludeAbility

IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was developed to increase meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability. It aims to close the gap in workforce participation between people with disability and people without disability.

IncludeAbility is designed to support:

  • employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with disability
  • people with disability seeking employment, developing a career or considering self-employment.

Find out more at the IncludeAbility website

About vocational providers

Choose a TAC Vocational service provider

A vocational service provider is an organisation that employs qualified return to work specialists.

Their aim is to help you return to work safely and successfully.

There are a number of reasons why the TAC may refer you to a return to work specialist. Generally, this is when you need extra support for your return to work.

Depending on your needs, a return to work specialist can:

  • Assess your current skills and abilities
  • Assess your workplace to see what support you need
  • Work with your employer and health professionals to explore your return to work options
  • Prepare a personalised return to work plan
  • Recommend modifications or equipment for your workplace
  • Recommend and organise retraining programs
  • Provide career guidance
  • Help you find and apply for a new job
  • Help you prepare your resume and provide interview training

Vocational rehabilitation programs

If you are looking for new or different work options because of your accident injuries, your return to work specialist will develop a vocational rehabilitation program.

This program is designed to prepare and help you to secure new job opportunities. It may include:

  • Skill development and/or retraining programs
  • Job seeking and interview preparation
  • Trial periods
  • A return to work plan, agreed to with your health professional and new employer

As part of the program, we expect that you will:

  • Return phone calls to your return to work specialist, your employer and  the TAC
  • Attend appointments, course sessions, job interviews and work regularly and on time
  • Participate in agreed vocational or return to work programs
  • Identify and apply for suitable jobs independently
  • Accept reasonable offers for job interviews
  • Attend job interviews
  • Provide evidence of job seeking (e.g. job diaries documenting jobs you’ve applied for)
  • Accept reasonable offers of employment.

Through this program, the TAC provides you with a reasonable offer of vocational rehabilitation. By law, if you choose not to take part, we may be unable to pay your income benefits.

Questions and answers

How do I know if I am ready to return to work?

You should visit your doctor and discuss this with them. They are in the best position to advise you on your capacity to work and any tasks you should modify or avoid to prevent a flare up.

If you aren’t able to go back to work at full capacity, speak to your employer and the TAC about alternative duties. Even if you aren’t ready to go back to work full-time, you may be able to return to light duties to help with your recovery.

Does my employer have to keep my job open? What assistance can the TAC give to my employer?

There are no provisions in the Transport Accident Act 1986 that require an employer to keep a job open for a worker injured in a transport accident.

If your employer has indicated that they may not be able to keep your job open while you recover from your injury, you should contact the TAC to discuss what options are available.

The TAC can offer your employer a range of supports to help with your return to work. This could include a wage subsidy paid to your employer to compensate the cost of supporting you in your return to work. The TAC may also be able to offer WorkCover insurance premium protection as part of a return to work plan.

What is the difference between a return to work plan and a vocational rehabilitation plan?

Both plans can be developed by a return to work specialist, but they have different purposes.

A vocational rehabilitation plan is designed to help you find and secure work. You might need this if you can’t return to your previous job, or if you were unemployed at the time of your accident.

A return to work plan is designed to support your return to the workplace, either with the same employer or a new one. This is signed off by your health professional and agreed to with your employer.

Sometimes, a return to work plan will form part of your vocational rehabilitation plan, once you have secured work.

What happens if I have a flare up or can’t continue my return to work plan?

If you have a flare up to your accident injury you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should provide you with a certificate of capacity stating what impact this has had on your capacity to work.

You should contact the TAC if you have any difficulties coping with your workload or accident injury. The TAC will work with you, your doctor and your employer to find the best way of managing your return to work.

What happens if I have time off because of surgery?

You should contact the TAC for prior approval before having any accident-related surgery.

If, after you have returned to work, you need more time off because of TAC approved surgery, you should also obtain a certificate of capacity from your doctor which details how your capacity to work is affected and how long it will be affected.

Where appropriate your return to work program will be modified to accommodate this time off. The TAC will continue to support you in your return to work as long as you have a certificate of capacity.

If I lose my job will the TAC help me find a new one?

If you are no longer employed because of your accident injuries, the TAC can help you with job seeking services as part of a return to work program.

If you have returned to work, and then lose your job, you might also be eligible for the Safety Net Income Benefit (SNIB).

If you have lost your job because of your accident, please call us on 1300 654 329 to discuss your options.