Helping injured or ill employees return to work

It is natural to think that employees need time off work when they are injured or have become seriously ill. However, there is research to support the idea that workers recover faster if they stay in contact with their workplace and try to maintain a usual working routine as much as possible. This can create benefits for employers such as improved staff retention and reduction in costs relating to lost productivity, staff training and overtime. It’s important for employers to work with the employee and help them return to work as smoothly and as quickly as possible.


Respond early and positively

It is important to respond as soon as possible when you become aware of an employee’s illness or injury. This is a crucial time to react positively and indicate the level of support that you will provide. Research conducted by Safe Work Australia in 2017 found that 77% of staff impacted by mental illness remained in work when their employer made early contact with them, as opposed to 52% who had no employer contact. The study also found 79% of employees stayed at work when their employer responded positively, compared with 52% when the response was perceived as negative.


Make a plan with the employee

Developing a workplace plan is a good way to support employees during the early stages. Stay at Work (SAW) or Return to Work (RTW) plans will formally outline the assistance that will be provided to the employee and the pathway for them to return to or stay at work safely and productively. It should be a collaborative effort with the employee, based on their strengths and preferences.


For advice regarding injured or ill employees, please contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or


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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.