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General FAQs:

 

Who does Work Options work for?

Work Options is an independent workforce health provider. We are engaged by employers, insurers or other agents to assist both employers and employees through the Workers Compensation process and/or with various aspects of workplace health and safety.

What areas does Work Options service?

Work Options’ Head Office is located in North Sydney however we offer our services Australia-wide.

Is Work Options accredited?

Work Options is an accredited provider by SIRA (State Insurance Regulatory Agency).

Can Work Options do work for iCare?

Yes, Work Options is an accredited agency and approved to complete rehabilitation services under iCare.

Workplace Rehabilitation FAQs:

 

Does Work Options have Comcare accreditation?

Yes, Work Options has Comcare accreditation.

Who pays worker’s wages when they are off work/working reduced hours due to injury?

Hours worked by the Worker will be paid by the employer (at 100% of wage) and the rest of the pay will be topped up by the Insurance company at a percentage of your usual wage.

Do I need to provide suitable work duties to an injured worker?

Yes. Employers have a responsibility to provide suitable duties within a worker’s medical restrictions if they can. If suitable duties can’t be provided, the injured worker will remain off work even if they have some work capacity.

What NSW Worker’s Compensation Incentives Schemes are available for potential employers to support a worker in returning to work?

1) Work Trials (a voluntary placement program which can be arranged up to 12 weeks for an employer to on-board a worker without incurring costs to their business whilst allowing a worker to demonstrate their ability to work and support their recovery and return to work)

2) JobCover Placement Program (it gives eligible employers subsidies and incentives to employ workers who cannot return to work with their pre-injury employer)

3) Return To Work Assist Program for Micro Employers (it supports eligible employers with five or less workers with a basic premium tariff of $30,000 or less to offer suitable work through a graded return to work place whilst minimising the financial burden to the employer)

What is Work Options role in my Workers Compensation claim?

Your Work Options Consultant is to be your main communication and support contact during your recovery journey and return to work. They will help to navigate through the system and assist you in reaching your milestones via upgrades in capacity, treatment success and return to work goals.

Do I need to get treatment approved before I go to my first session?

Most treatment (unless it is part of emergency treatment) will need to be approved by the Agent prior to commencement. If this doesn’t occur, the worker may be liable for paying for the treatment. The exception to this rule is physiotherapy. If physiotherapy is identified by a treating doctor as reasonable and necessary, and documented on a Certificate of Capacity, the initial eight sessions do not need to be pre-approved.

How often do I need to get a Certificate of Capacity?

At least every 28 days or more frequently at the beginning of the claim when the injury is improving quickly.

What happens when I can’t go to work when I’m on Workers Comp?

If it is due to the claim related injury/illness, you will need to get a Certificate of Capacity to say why you couldn’t be at work. You will also need to get another one when you can return to work. If your absence is due to a non claim related reason, a standard medical certificate is fine.

Why does a Work Options Consultant attend my doctor’s appointments?

As part of your occupational rehabilitation, an effective way of achieving a positive return to work outcome is to attend medical case conferences with your nominated treating doctor, where we discuss your treatment process, treatment recommendations and assess your certified capacity. Our attendance will mean that we can relate this to your workplace/future workplace and educate your doctor about recovery at work.

When do I schedule my treatment appointments if I am working fulltime hours?

It is important to schedule appointments outside of working hours. Treating practitioners such as physiotherapists and doctors generally work later hours for this reason as they understand individuals work. If this is not possible, it is best to discuss this with your employer and come to an agreement for when sessions/appointments will be scheduled. In the event that appointments cannot be made outside of work hours e.g. specialist appointments, they should be arranged at the beginning or end of the work day, and with prior consultation and approval with/from the employer contact.

I’m not getting paid the same amount of money as I was when I was working, why?

Workers Compensation benefits are not a one for one payment. They depend on the number of weeks that a Worker has been on benefits and their pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE). The PIAWE is worked out on the workers previous 12 month’s wages. For 0-13 weeks of benefits, a Worker is eligible for 95% of their PIAWE, including overtime and allowances. This is no matter what the Workers capacity for work is. From week 13 onwards, a Worker needs to be working 15 hours/week to be eligible for 95% PIAWE minus overtime and allowances. If a Worker doesn’t have capacity for, or isn’t working, a minimum of 15 hours, their benefit eligibility drops to 80% PIAWE minus overtime and allowances.

What if I can never return to my pre-injury role?

Once your treatment providers confirm you cannot return to your pre-injury role or if an employer has unfairly dismissed you, Work Options can offer vocational rehabilitation services to assist with finding you new employment that matches your capacity and skills.

Who do I speak to if I experience a flare up of pain while I am at work completing suitable duties?

Speak to your supervisor or employer first to identify reasons for the flare up and how it can be managed within the workplace. If flare ups are stopping you from engaging in your suitable duties, notify your employer, doctor, insurer and rehabilitation consultant, and return to your doctor to review capacity and obtain a WCC that reflects current capacity.

What if I struggle with my suitable duties?

Speak with your employer and rehabilitation consultant to review duties and RAWP. Look to arrange a WSR and implement strategies such as task rotation, including stretches or small breaks when required or change in duties if needed.

Why does a Work Options consultant come to my worksite for visits?

As part of your recovery at work, it is important for us to visit regularly to ensure the RTWP is being followed, to offer motivation and support for the injured worker, to ensure that the employer is providing suitable duties and to determine if improvements are required or if you are ready for an upgrade. Worksite visits are great evidence to use at case conferences to explain to the doctor about your recovery.

What are an injured worker’s job seeking obligations?

Injured workers who are job seeking are required to make a minimum of 5 applications per week or 10 per fortnight as their general obligation.  However circumstances may differ in discussion with your case manager in regards to the submission of your job seeking records and number of applications to be made within a specified timeframe.  For example, if a worker is located in a regional area, there may be a limited number of positions available within your geographic proximity and access to a computer which impacts on their ability to perform job seeking activities.

What resources are available for job seekers through Work Options?

Upon engagement with a job seeker, Work Options will provide job seeking resources including our JobSAM (Job Seeking Assistance Manual), job seeking record log, samples of resumes and cover letters as well as other tools depending on your needs.

Can my employer sack me because I have made an injury claim?

No, an employer cannot sack an employee for making an injury claim, however, after a six month period, if the injured worker is struggling to regain sufficient capacity for work and the employer is unable to provide suitable duties within the injured worker’s capacity, the Insurance Case Manager may review the status of the claim and change the rehabilitation goal from “same employer” to “new employer”.  As a result of this process, the injured worker is then provided with vocational rehabilitation services to facilitate a transition to different employment that reflects the injured worker’s capacity for work.  Section 248 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 states: “An employer must not dismiss a worker because of a work-related injury within six months from when the worker first became unfit as a result of the injury.”

Can I speak to a Lawyer about my injury claim?

Yes, you are within your rights to seek legal advice and representation.  Your legal representative will explain to you the advice and representation they are able to provide in your circumstances.

Drug and Alcohol FAQs:

 

What can you do as a business to minimise the negative risks that drugs and alcohol represent to you as a business and to individuals?

Firstly, it comes back to recruiting the “right” people. Having pre-employment drug and alcohol screens conducted is a simple and inexpensive way of identifying persons who may have drug or alcohol issues before you employ them. Helping you make sure you bring the right people into your workforce.

Second, is to have a system in place to address the issues of drugs and alcohol in the workplace and that has as its focus a purpose to minimise the risk of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. One small issue… it is difficult and complex. There are many legal and social aspects involved. The technical issues relating to drugs and alcohol are not only confusing but also appear to change very quickly. Many firms elect to build a system in house, but the unfortunate reality is that many of these businesses do not realise that their system is flawed until it is tested in the courts. It is then that the real costs of such mistakes are really brought home.

What are some common mistakes firms make in drug and alcohol management systems?

As a provider of drug and alcohol services we are often approached by firms to provide advice on their drug and alcohol management systems, often only after an issue has been identified. Some of the common mistakes we see in firms systems;

  • An umbrella policy statement has been developed but there is no detailed management system
  • The system does not apply to ALL
  • Thinks only about illegal drugs and fails to deal with prescribed and over the counter medications
  • Legal WHS consultation requirements not met in establishing the system
  • Terms such as “under the influence” or “impaired” used instead of establishing a clear standard of behaviour for the workforce
  • Does not have provisions for education and awareness training for the workforce or for the supervisors of the firm, who are the eyes and ears of the business
  • Does not have provisions for support for workers or management plans for individuals who have positive drug or alcohol readings. Management Plans can be relied on legally for termination if a person does not comply. Not having these provisions can lead to drawn out IR problems that can lead to WC claims.

Is there a business benefit to addressing the issues of drugs and alcohol?

If done correctly, the answer is absolutely. As a business you could potentially be absorbing substantial costs caused by the impact of drugs and alcohol. They are costs associated with absenteeism; productivity; workers compensation; worker health; security and employee morale.

The business benefit of addressing the issues of drugs and alcohol in the workplace (correctly) are clear;

  • Safer workplace = fewer WHS incidents and injuries = fewer WC claims = less downtime, less admin, less heartache, more productivity and less costs!
  • Reduced absenteeism = increased employee morale; increased employee health; more productivity and less costs!
  • Employer of choice = easier to attract and recruit the right people; keep the good ones you have = reduced recruiting costs = less costs!
  • Improved business image = competitive edge = winning ore work and more profit!

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