Return to work: can we change job role?


Return to work: can we change job role?

If workers are on restricted duties because of injury, can you shift them to a different role? Gaby Grammeno explains.

If a worker is on a restricted duties because of an injury, can we shift him to a different role?

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Q An employee who is on workers comp has returned to work, albeit in a restricted capacity. He is complaining of constant pain and we would like to move him into another position where he could be better supported. Can we enforce this change and, if so, would we need to provide notice? He is employed under the Registered Clubs Award.

A The employer should work with the employee's return to work coordinator and workers compensation insurer to support him in his return to work. Moving a worker to another position to assist this process is not unusual. The worker should be included in any decision-making and be given notice and clear communication about the different role and the length of time he will be required to work in that role. 

It is important to note that while an employee may be performing suitable duties within the scope of any medical restrictions (which often may mean working across roles), an employer cannot change an employee’s contracted position without consultation and mutual agreement.

Return to work is covered by workers compensation legislation. Guidelines for return to work can be viewed here.

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