This policy outlines the department’s focus on early intervention, active case management and outcomes-based rehabilitation to enable optimal return to work, in the event of work-related injury or illness.
The Victorian WorkCover scheme is a statutory, no-fault, compulsory insurance scheme.
To meet the requirement of the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation (WIRC) Act 2013 (the legislation), the principal and/or their delegate must:
- display the following notices at the school:
- submit the following forms to the WorkSafe Agent within 10 calendar days from the time received by the workplace – note that all of these forms are available on the department's Return to Work Coordinator (staff login required)
- the Workers injury claim form
- the Employer's injury claim report
- the employee's certificate of capacity
- keep a register of injuries
- appoint a return to work coordinator (you must appoint a return to work coordinator who has an appropriate level of seniority and is competent to assist you meet your return to work obligations)
- plan for an employee’s return to work
- consult with employees and treating health providers (task cards are available to assist – staff login required)
- monitor an employee’s progress
- provide suitable employment
- provide a safe work environment
- keep worker’s information private and confidential
- avoid discriminatory conduct. Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals including access to the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Line.
The department has 2 Workers Compensation policies, the primary policy is for employees and this policy applies to all employees who experience a work-related injury or illness.
This policy does not apply to visitors, consultants, contractors, employees of contractors and consultants, persons employed through labour hire agencies nor volunteers, who should be referred to their own employer’s policies.
The secondary policy relates only to school volunteers who experience a work related injury or illness.
The return to work obligations under the legislation start as soon as a principal or their delegate have received any of the below:
- an injured employee’s Certificate of Capacity
- an injured employee's WorkCover Injury Claim Form
- notification from the WorkSafe Agent that they have received, either of these documents.
The Safe and Well: Injury and Illness Management Framework (staff login required) has been developed for Principal/Workplace Managers to be used in conjunction with this policy. This document provides guidance in injury management to assist leaders in supporting injured staff and/or in identifying early onset signs associated with potential workplace injury or illness.
Initial claims management
The principal and/or their delegate must:
- encourage the injured employee to record their injury on eduSafe (staff login required)
- provide the employee with a Workers injury claim form , if they wish to claim compensation
- complete the employer section of the workers injury claim form and sign it upon receiving a completed workers injury claim form from an employee
- acknowledge the receipt of the Workers Injury Claim Form in writing — for example, by completing the employer section of the Workers Injury Claim Form
- complete the Employer's injury claim report form
- provide Your workers’ compensation claim and Employee entitlements and benefits fact sheets (staff login required) to the injured employee, keeping evidence.
The principal and/or their delegate must lodge the following with the WorkSafe Agent within 10 calendar days of receiving the following:
- the Workers injury claim form
- the completed Employer's injury claim report
- the employee's Certificate of Capacity
- any other relevant documents, such as invoices or receipts for medical expenses
- any known employee health declaration.
Note: The department has an obligation to lodge the claim in 10 calendar days with its WorkSafe Agent from the time a worker’s injury claim form is received. There are penalties for failing to meet this timeframe.
The WorkSafe Agent has 28 days to assess the claim and let the department know the outcome.
A Circumstance Investigator may be assigned to the claim to collect more information, including interviewing witnesses about the employee's injury.
A principal and/or their delegate must ensure that detailed information of the incident or situation is provided to the Circumstance Investigator, or the WorkSafe Agent, about the injury and the events that witnesses consider caused it.
For further information, resources and guides to support schools with initial claims , visit the department's Return to Work Coordinator (staff login required).
Return to work planning
Appoint a return to work coordinator
A principal and/or their delegate mustappoint a return to work coordinator:
- who has an appropriate level of seniority (for example, Assistant Principal, Business Manager) and is competent to assist the principal or their delegate meet return to work obligations
- ensure the return to work coordinator is trained (for example, attended the WorkSafe accredited two day RTW Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities Training)
- make workers’ compensation information available to all employees.
Plan for the employee's return
A principal and/or their delegate must plan for the employee’s return to work by:
- obtaining relevant information about the employee’s capacity for work
- considering reasonable workplace support, aids or modifications to assist in the employee's return to work
- assessing and proposing options for suitable or pre-injury employment to the injured employee
- providing the employee with clear, accurate and current details of their return to work arrangements.
- provide a safe work environment and consider this obligation under OHS legislation when planning an employee's return to work.
Monitor the employee's return to work progress
A principal and/or their delegate must monitor the employee's return to work progress. This may be done by:
- consulting directly with the employee about their return to work
- consulting with the treating health practitioner (where the employee has provided their consent by signing the health declaration on the claims form). Task cards are available to assist with this process.
- consulting with the occupational rehabilitation provider if there is one.
A principal and/or their delegate must:
- provide the injured employee with suitable employment even if they have an incapacity for work. Employers have an obligation to provide 52 weeks of suitable employment options to injured employees however the department encourages workplaces to continue to provide suitable employment options post this date when reasonable to do so
- provide the employee with pre-injury employment or equivalent when they have returned to full capacity
- notify the WorkSafe Agent when an employee returns to work or work hours change
- provide the WorkSafe Agent with details and paperwork associated with a change in hours or commencement or cessation of a return to work program
- provide weekly earnings to the WorkSafe Agent within three months of the time loss occurring. A Current Weekly Earnings report can be generated from eduPay on a fortnightly basis after pay finalisation. Current weekly earning instructions (staff login required) are available to assist in the steps involved on how to generate this report from eduPay.
For further information, resources and guides to support schools with return to work (staff login required), refer to the Safe and well: injury and illness management framework and/or visit the department's Return to Work Coordinator (staff login required).
The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that:
- the employee is paid in line with their Certificate of Capacity and the scheduled pay days
- all Certificates of Capacity are sent to the WorkSafe Agent as soon as they are received
- they seek reimbursement from the WorkSafe Agent within 3 months of the paying the employee weekly compensation
- if an employee’s weekly payments claim is accepted, pay the first 10 days of the injured employee’s time away from work due to their work-related injury or illness, as part of their WorkCover insurance's excess
- medical expenses are sent to the WorkSafe Agent for payment.
The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that:
- an employee’s information is kept private and confidential
- they are familiar with the privacy requirements for Victoria's workers compensation legislation, information privacy legislation and health records legislation.
- in the course of managing a worker's return to work, employers will have access to confidential information about a worker. This information cannot be disclosed to any other employees or third party without the appropriate authority from the injured employee.
- seek advice from the WorkSafe Agent or the Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing Division if you are unsure about any privacy concerns.
The principal and/or their delegate must ensure that they avoid discriminatory conduct. The legislation prohibits an employer from engaging in discriminatory conduct relating to an employee pursuing a claim for compensation or for notifying an employer or WorkSafe of an injury.
Discriminatory conduct includes the following behaviours:
- dismissing, or threatening to dismiss, an employee from employment
- altering, or threatening to alter, the position of an employee to the employee's detriment
- treating an employee less favourably than another employee in relation to promotion or re-employment.
WorkSafe and its Agents are not able to provide advice regarding these laws and requirements. However, it is recommended that principals or their delegate become familiar with these and other relevant requirements. Fair Work Australia provides useful information and advice for principals can be provided by Legal Division.
All employees have obligations as part of their workers’ compensation claim. The injured employee should, within 30 days of their injury:
- complete a Workers Injury Claim Form
- obtain a Certificate of Capacity from a medical practitioner
- return completed forms with the first Certificate of Capacity to the principal or their delegate
- attend medical reviews and appointments with rehabilitation providers if required and obtain a progress Certificate of Capacity after each subsequent medical review
- provide all subsequent Certificates of Capacity to the principal or delegate
- participate in injury management and return to work programs.
Even if the employee does not submit their claim within the 30 day period, the employer still has a legal obligation to submit the claim within the 10 day period.
If the injured employee does not agree with their return to work program, they should first discuss the issue with their principal or delegate.
If the issue cannot be resolved, contact the Return to Work and Compensation Team.
- Equal Opportunity – Employees
- OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview
- Privacy and Information Sharing
- Recruitment in Schools
- Accident Compensation Act 1985
- Accident Compensation (WorkCover Insurance) Act 1993
- Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
- Equal Opportunity Act 2010
- Health Records Act 2001
- Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act (2004)
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
- Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001
- Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013
Schools may also contact their region for support with workers' compensation claims and the return to work process. Email contacts for each region are as follows:
- South West Victoria Region: email@example.com
- South East Victoria Region: firstname.lastname@example.org
- North West Victoria Region: email@example.com
- North East Victoria Region: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed 21 September 2022