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Employee suffered a personal injury? What information can you ask for to ensure a safe return to work?


Coordinating an employees return to work following a personal injury can be difficult to navigate. To ensure an employee’s return to work does not pose any further risk to the employees or co-workers health and safety you may need more information than a one-line response, employers often receive, on a medical certificate declaring the employee fit for duty.  So, what can you do in these situations?

In some circumstances it may be deemed appropriate for the employer to request further information from an employee, regarding their illness or injury, or to direct the employee to undergo a medical assessment, however the request and or direction, to do so, must be reasonable.

In cases, where a medical certificate or the evidence provided by the employee is vague or general in nature the employer may wish to request additional information to determine –

  • the nature of the illness or injury
  • how or why the illness or injury affects the employee’s capacity to work
  • anticipated recovery time; and
  • when or how the employee might be able to perform partial duties.

To gain this information the employer may need to make contact with the employee’s treating physician. However, before an employer can make contact the written consent must be gained from the employee beforehand.

In an effort to facilitate a smooth transition back to work for the employee and the business operations, implementing a return to work procedure may be an effective way to communicate what information may be required from the employee prior to their return to work. Having something in place may alleviate delays in their transition back to work.

If you would like more advice on how to manage the return to work of an ill and or injured employee, or help in developing a return to work procedure the Master Builders Workplace Relations and Legal team are here to discuss the matter and the appropriate course of action help. Contact the team on (02) 6175 5900.