Return to work compliance

Published:22/01/2019

Return to work compliance

State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) updated the Guidelines for workplace return to work programs (guidelines) back in May 2017.

NSW businesses were granted a 2 year period to become compliant and must ensure compliance with the updated guidelines before 31 May 2019.

Employer Obligations under the guidelines

All employers in NSW must have a return to work (RTW) program within 12 months of starting a business.

Your RTW program must:

  • be developed in consultation with your workers and any industrial union representing them
  • be consistent with your insurer's injury management plan
  • comply with SIRA Guidelines for workplace RTW programs
  • be accessible and communicated to your workforce

The NSW workers compensation system, separates businesses (employers) into two categories; Category 1 and Category 2. It is important to understand that each category has different obligations under the law.


Category 1 Employers

A category 1 employer is an employer:

  • with a Basic Tariff Premium (BTP) also referred to as Average Performance Premium (APP) >$50,000 a year or,
  • who is self-insured or,
  • insured by a specialised insurer and has over 20 employees

Category 1 employer RTW Programs require 4 main activities:

  • Appoint a RTW coordinator
  • Develop a RTW program
  • Consult workers and unions
  • Implement the RTW program

Category 2 Employers

A category 2 employer is any employer who is not a category 1 employer as described above.

Category 2 employer RTW Programs require three main activities:

  • Appoint a person responsible for Recovery at Work
  • Develop a RTW program
  • Implement the RTW program

This article is not legal or personal advice and only takes account of a small section of the Guidelines. For advice tailored to your specific business or individual circumstances, please contact Coverforce Workplace Services directly.


Further Information

You can download a copy of the 2017 Guidelines for workplace RTW programs here.

Employers, workers or unions with queries about the guidelines can also contact SIRA on 13 10 50 or email contact@sira.nsw.gov.au


How Coverforce can help

Our experienced Workplace Solutions team offer a range of services to assist your business in the efficient management of your workers compensation premiums, HR and WHS risks.

Just some of the ways we can assist include:

  • reviewing workers compensation premiums, classification and claims
  • workers compensation claims and injury management advice
  • developing and implementing policies and processes that assist you in recruiting the right people for your business
  • embedding safe working processes and the identification of risks and hazards in your workplace
  • identifying and closing compliance gaps
  • implementing policies and procedures that provide guidelines for performance and behavioural expectations

To find out more about how Coverforce Workplace Services can assist your business, contact the team on (02) 9376 7979 today.


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