Little improvement in return-to-work

A new report shows limited progress in returning sick and injured employees to work - one of the stated aims of the State Government’s savage cuts to workers compensation four years ago.

The Impact on Injured Workers of Changes to NSW Workers’ Compensation by Macquarie University’s Centre for Workforce Futures has discovered disturbing trends in the everyday experience of sick and injured workers since 2012.

Among people trying to return to work, it finds regular harassment and bullying, particularly of those suffering psychological injury.

The report finds little evidence of employer support during the recovery process. In one case, a return to work co-ordinator called herself ’The Terminator’.

“Sick and injured workers are simply not getting the support they need to return to the workforce. At the same time, financial support has been slashed,” said Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW.

“This study shows employer attitudes have hardened. As people return to work in a vulnerable state, they are being given more difficult tasks and ultimatums to fulfil work they are not mentally or physically equipped to do.

“The report paints a disturbing picture of vulnerable people doing their best to return to work, only to be drummed out of a job because the support structures simply aren’t in place.”

The report also finds insurance companies tend to minimise workers compensation claimsm leading to delayed claims and treatment which slows the return to work. And where retraining is offered, it is for careers that are often demeaning and tokenistic. 

Unions NSW will now commence a tour of 10 regional centres across the State to hear testimony and feedback about the impact of the workers compensation cuts. The report will be launched at NSW parliament this afternoon at 1.30pm.


Related news coverage: NSW government has made little progress in helping injured workers return to work: study

Find your copy of the report here.

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