Get injured workers back on track

Trying to find a new job while recovering from a workplace injury can be tough.

Former cleaner Debbie, for example, was doing her best to maintain a can-do attitude despite experiencing no success with numerous job applications and speculative calls to businesses.

The 44-year-old was still undergoing physiotherapy for workplace injuries sustained more than six months previously and feeling increasingly concerned about her situation.

Fortunately she qualified for assistance under WorkCover’s JobCover Placement Program (JCPP), which has helped over 1800 workers secure suitable long-term employment with a new employer.

The program offers generous financial incentives, exemptions and safeguards to eligible employers willing to hire workers unable to return to work with their pre-injury employer.

Eligible new employers can receive an incentive payment of up to $27,400 for a year’s employment and exemption of the worker’s wages from their workers compensation premium calculation for up to two years.

There is also protection against further costs arising from the worker’s existing injury for up to two years. Furthermore, a workplace rehabilitation provider will match the worker’s capacity with their new role and address any potential risks.

An employer may be eligible for the JCPP if they meet the program requirements in the guidelines and offer the worker secure and ongoing employment for at least 64 hours per month.

Workers can participate in an initial work trial of up to 12 weeks to upgrade their existing skills before beginning employment using the 12-month JCPP.

One such success story is Debbie, now a contented full-time employee with the manufacturing company where she completed a year-long JCPP.

Previously she had been working as a flour mill cleaner when sustaining serious knee-joint and back injuries after a fall in March 2012. Debbie required knee surgery and intensive rehabilitation, and her surgeon estimated it would take at least six months before she was fit enough for pre-injury duties.

Experiencing problems negotiating stairs despite her knee injury improving, Debbie was given medical approval to apply for admin roles and received job seeking training and support.

It gradually became apparent, however, that her lack of skills was not conducive in an increasingly competitive employment marketplace.

Debbie’s workplace rehabilitation provider, Skilled Health, canvassed local businesses and found a manufacturing company interested in several vocational programs offered by WorkCover NSW.

In April 2013, with medical and insurer approval, a delighted Debbie commenced her work trial. Not only was she warmly welcomed by new workmates but discovered her determination during treatment had accelerated recovery and she could easily fulfill the required tasks.

Another big boost was receiving pre-injury duties clearance from her doctor during the first month of the work trial, which was monitored by Skilled Health, who then negotiated Debbie’s JCPP. Skilled Health also helped to coordinate the JCPP agreement forms before Debbie began employment.

The employer was clearly happy with Debbie’s performance as ultimately, with input from Skilled Health, she continued onto ongoing, full-time employment.

Learn more about the JobCover Placement Program at the WorkCover website or call us on 13 10 50.

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