TAC information for employers. Working together TAC Employer Incentive Package. Returning to work

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1 TAC information for employers Working together TAC Employer Incentive Package Returning to work A

2 About the TAC The TAC is a Victorian Government-owned organisation whose role is to pay for treatment and support services for people injured in transport accidents. It is also involved in promoting road safety in Victoria and improving the state s trauma system. A key role of the TAC is to work with injured people, their employers and doctors to help them get back to work. Working together Your role You have an important part to play in your employee s successful return to work. A timely return to work can help your employee s overall rehabilitation after an accident. The TAC will discuss with you what benefits and supports are available to you and your employee to make their return to work as smooth as possible. Think about the kind of work your injured employee does. If they can t perform their normal duties straight away: are there other tasks they might be able to do around the workplace? is it possible that they could come back on reduced hours? The Return to work: Job checklist (included with this brochure) can help manage your employee s successful return to work. Please take the time to go through this checklist and answer in as much detail as you can. The checklist will assist your employee s treating health care professional to evaluate their capacity for work. Once completed please return the checklist to the TAC in the Reply Paid envelope provided. If you have any questions about an injured employee returning to work, please call the TAC on to discuss what supports and incentives may be available to you to help an injured worker successfully return to work. More information about the types of incentives the TAC can offer employers is on pages 2-4 of this brochure. B Transport Accident Commission

3 The role of your employee The TAC has encouraged your employee to stay in regular contact with you and update you on the progress of their recovery. They should: supply you with certificates of capacity which detail their capacity to work contact you to find out whether there are alternative duties available discuss the possibility of returning to work on reduced hours. The role of the health care professional Your employee s health care professional is an important person in the return to work process. They should: initiate the employee s return to work via certificates of capacity assess your employee s capacity for work advise if your employee needs to take regular breaks advise whether there are any equipment needs (which the TAC may fund) or an exercise program required to help get your employee back to work. The TAC s role in helping injured clients return to work Our first step will be to contact you and your employee to discuss the return to work process. The TAC will: talk to your employee about how they are managing with their injury discuss whether they have considered returning to work contact you to discuss your employee s return to work talk to you about the work your employee does ask if alternative duties are available discuss any concerns you may have about your employee s return to work. For an employer, having an employee productively return to work means retaining skills and reducing the cost of hiring and training new staff. For employees, gaining or resuming employment is one of the most effective forms of rehabilitation. The TAC will work with you and the injured employee to get them back to work as soon as possible. If you have any questions about an injured employee returning to work, call the TAC on

4 The majority of TAC 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 facilitate a return to work program for clients with particular needs. Where appropriate the TAC can fund some of the services and benefits listed below. Contact the TAC on if you have any questions regarding these supports. TAC support Employer incentive package The TAC may be able to offer you an Employer Incentive Package that contains several features. Fully funded by the TAC, the package includes full and partial wage subsidies, WorkCover insurance and the services of an independent return to work specialist. The package is designed to ensure your employee can work as safely and productively as possible when they return, minimising any potential financial impact upon you and your business. To access the TAC Employer Incentive Package, your employee must have an accepted TAC claim and a TAC referral to an authorised return to work specialist. Return to work specialist A return to work specialist will work with you, your employee and the TAC to plan a return to work program that meets your needs and the needs of your employee. The return to work specialist will: conduct a worksite assessment to create a working environment appropriate for you and your employee liaise with your employee s health care professional to recommend any workplace modifications or equipment work with your occupational health and safety manager (if applicable) monitor your employee s progress to ensure they adjust to work again. The trial phase To begin the program, the return to work specialist may recommend a trial phase. The trial phase is a four-week program to assist your employee to return to their pre-accident working hours and duties. It is also suitable for new employees who are learning the job and gradually increasing their productivity. Throughout this program, the TAC will reimburse you for the hours your employee works. The number of hours they work depends on their capacity, the worksite assessment conducted by the return to work specialist and your business needs. The return to work specialist can use the results of the trial phase to plan the remainder of the return to work program with you or organise further vocational rehabilitation. Graded wage subsidy This feature of the TAC Employer Incentive Package is for more work-ready employees and can be used as a natural progression from the trial phase. The graded wage subsidy is designed to help the employee resume normal duties again or commence a new job. After you have paid your employee for the hours they have worked, the TAC will reimburse you an agreed wage subsidy based on your employee s productivity. As your employee s productivity increases, the wage subsidy decreases. The graded wage subsidy can run for the duration of the return to work program. 2 Transport Accident Commission

5 WorkCover insurance You should contact the TAC on to see if your business is eligible for WorkCover insurance. The TAC Employer Incentive Package contains a WorkCover insurance policy to give you peace of mind. This protects you if your employee is injured during a TAC return to work program. WorkCover insurance can be provided alone or together with the trial phase or graded wage subsidy. This means that, as an employer, you are given premium protection in the event of a WorkCover claim regardless of the nature of the injury. In addition, the TAC will reimburse the WorkCover excess incurred as a result of that claim. During the return to work program you will be responsible for the usual components of the employment relationship. These include supervision, performance management, superannuation, make-up pay (if applicable), industrial relations, human resources and all other WorkCover obligations. WorkCover insurance is generally available as part of the Employer Incentive Package but some exclusions apply. These include: interstate employers (ie. outside Victoria) employers who self-insure for WorkCover employers covered by ComCare. You can contact the TAC on to see if your business is eligible for WorkCover insurance. Getting information and support The TAC recognises that returning to work is a team effort and encourages you to stay in touch with your employee and the TAC so that their transition back to work is a smooth one. If you want to discuss your employee s return to work, or if you have questions about anything in this brochure, contact the TAC on and ask to speak to your employee s TAC officer. More information is available at the TAC website 1 Stay in touch with your employee and talk to them about their return to work. 2 Contact the TAC if you have questions about your employee returning to work. 3 Contact the TAC if you would like more information on the Employer Incentive Package. 4 Be proactive, don t wait for your employee to contact you about returning to work. 5 If there is a setback contact the TAC for help. 3

6 4 Transport Accident Commission

7 Julie s story Julie owns a shoe shop and her cashier Vicky was involved in a car accident six weeks ago. Vicky suffered multiple soft tissue injuries and was away from work for four weeks. Julie was shocked to learn that Vicky was injured in an accident and worried whether she would be okay. She was also worried about her business because she didn t know when Vicky was coming back. Vicky was a good worker and Julie didn t want to lose her, but at the same time she didn t want her business to suffer. The TAC contacted Julie and talked to her about Vicky s job. Julie said that Vicky worked mainly as a cashier which meant she spent long periods standing behind the counter. The TAC officer advised that he would send a job checklist to Julie and asked her to fill it in as Vicky s doctor would be able to use it to work out the types of things Vicky could do when she returned to work. The TAC also spoke to Vicky and she arranged an appointment with her doctor and spoke to him about going back to work on alternative duties. Her doctor agreed that this type of work was suitable for Vicky as long as she kept up her exercises and didn t stay seated in the same spot for extended periods. At first Vicky started back on three-hour shifts and worked every second day. Rather than stay behind the counter she helped with sales and walked the floor. During quiet times she was able to take a break and maintain her exercises. After a few weeks Vicky was still working the same hours as her pain had not improved. Sometimes it seemed that things were getting worse and she missed a few shifts. The TAC talked to Vicky and Julie about the trouble Vicky was having and it was agreed that Vicky would temporarily reduce her hours until things improved. Vicky saw her physio and adjustments were made to her exercise program to work more on strengthening her problem areas. Vicky was careful not to over-exert herself at work and her injury started to improve. She was able to increase her activity and contribute more to the running of the shop. Over time her hours increased. Julie is confident that Vicky will be back to her full-time hours soon. A timely return to work will help your employee s recovery and help you reduce the cost of hiring and training new staff. 5

8 The TAC will work with you and your employee to ensure they have a safe and productive return to work. Frequently asked questions How do I know if my employee is ready to return to work? Your employee s health care professional is the best person to give advice on the right time to go back. You are entitled to ask your employee to supply you with a certificate of capacity clearing them to return to work. If you have any concerns about your employee returning to work you should discuss this with your employee and their doctor. Contact the TAC if you have questions about your employee returning to work. We will look at what options are available to ensure that your employee has a safe and productive return to work. 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, the TAC will work with you and your injured employee during the return to work process. The TAC can offer incentives to help ease the financial strain of taking back an employee after an accident. More information about the Employer Incentive Package can be found on page 2 of this brochure, at under the search term return to work programs or by calling Throughout this program, the TAC will reimburse you for the hours your employee works. The number of hours they work depends on their capacity, the worksite assessment conducted by the return to work specialist and your business needs. The return to work specialist can use the results of the trial phase to plan the remainder of the return to work program with you or organise further vocational rehabilitation. Graded wage subsidy This feature of the TAC Employer Incentive Package is for more work-ready employees and can be used as a natural progression from the trial phase. The graded wage subsidy is designed to help the employee resume normal duties again or commence a new job. After you have paid your employee for the hours they have worked, the TAC will reimburse you an agreed wage subsidy based on your employee s productivity. As your employee s productivity increases, the wage subsidy decreases. The graded wage subsidy can run for the duration of the return to work program. I don t have any experience with people coming back to work after an accident. Who can help me? The TAC can refer a return to work specialist to work with you and your injured employee to help with the return to work process. They will make recommendations to the TAC about the requirements your employee has to return to work safely. They will also monitor your employee s progress throughout the return to work program to make sure things are kept on track. What happens if I take someone back and they get re-injured? If you have any concerns about an employee getting re-injured, contact the TAC to discuss your options. As part of the Employer Incentive Package the TAC may be able to offer a return to work program that includes WorkCover insurance. The TAC policies regarding the Employer Incentive Package can be found at under the search term return to work programs. 6 Transport Accident Commission

9 I m worried that if I take someone back who isn t fully fit, my business may suffer due to lost productivity. What type of assistance is available? As part of the Employer Incentive Package the TAC 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 is the difference between the Trial Phase and the Graded Wage Subsidy in a return to work program? On recommendation from a return to work specialist a four-week trial phase may be implemented for an injured employee before they start a full return to work program. The trial phase is designed to help your employee return to their pre-accident hours and duties and allows the return to work specialist to fine tune their recommendations before a full return to work plan is developed. During the trial phase the TAC will pay you a 100% reimbursement for the hours your employee works. When your employee begins a full return to work program this wage subsidy will gradually decrease as your employee s productivity increases. What if modifications are needed to the workplace. Who will pay for this? The TAC can consider paying the cost of reasonable workplace modifications that will assist with an employee s return to work. Your employee s doctor should forward a certificate of capacity to the TAC which outlines the types of modifications or equipment required. The TAC will then organise for a return to work specialist to conduct a worksite assessment. They will discuss the recommendations with your employee s treating doctor and advise the TAC on the modifications required. If appropriate, the TAC will then pay for these modifications to help your injured worker return safely. 7

10 David s story David manages a warehouse and his employee Mark injured his shoulder in a motorcycle accident. As Mark s job is physical, David had some reservations about taking Mark back in case he further injured himself. A few weeks after his accident the TAC called Mark to see how he was going. Mark advised that he was feeling better and that his doctor had said that he might be able to return to work in a couple of weeks on light duties. The TAC then called David to see if light duties were available for Mark s return to work. David advised that there were light duties in the warehouse, but he was worried that if Mark came back before he was fully recovered he might further injure himself. The TAC officer discussed a return to work program with David. They talked about the different incentives such as WorkCover insurance and wage subsidies, and this gave David peace of mind that things would be handled professionally and with the least amount of impact to the running of the warehouse. The TAC officer arranged for a return to work specialist to visit the warehouse and conduct an assessment. The return to work specialist set up a return to work program with David and initial trial phase to monitor Mark s work readiness. As part of the program the TAC paid the WorkCover insurance premium for Mark while he returned to work on administration duties. By working together, Mark s return to work program is on track. There have been a few setbacks and at times Mark s injury prevented him from working all the hours set out in his plan. But by staying in touch with his employer, doctor and the TAC Mark s plan was modified to meet the changing needs of the business and his injury. By working together, Mark s return to work program is on track. 8 Transport Accident Commission

11 9

12 Contact us Telephone 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday (local call) (toll-free outside the Melbourne metropolitan area) Address 60 Brougham Street Geelong VIC 3220 Mailing address TAC GPO Box 2751 Melbourne VIC 3001 Website Copyright Transport Accident Commission, 2014 For information about the TAC in your own language, call one of the numbers listed here Tieng Viet 10 Transport Accident Commission

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