Workers' Compensation: What are your rights?

If you are injured at work you have the right to:

  • Visit your own doctor for treatment. The first visit is the most important one in deciding your claim. Do not be pressured into going to a doctor suggested by the employer for treatment.
  • Time off to recover from your injury as long as it follows the WorkCover certificate provided by your doctor.
  • Payment of reasonable medical and like expenses eg: doctor, physio, X-rays, etc
  • Have your Union delegate or OHS Rep present when you talk to your employer about your injury return to safe and meaningful work in accordance with your doctor's recommendations
  • Rehabilitation services and retraining that will help you get back to a safe job
  • In most cases: a copy of any report related to your WorkCover claim so you can check that the information about you is accurate.

You have the right to refuse:

  • to see the company doctor for treatment as only your treating doctor (ie your own doctor) can treat you. However, you may be required to go to see the company doctor (but not for treatment)
  • to be escorted to the doctor by your employer or to have the employer or the employer's representative attend the visit with your doctor.

Employer duties

When a worker has an incapacity for work, the employer has obligations under the law to help them return to work.  These obligations are to:

1 - Plan for the worker's return to work:

  • obtain relevant information about the worker's capacity for work 
  • consider reasonable workplace support,aids or modifications to assist in the worker's return to work  
  • assess and propose options for suitable or pre-injury employment to the worker 
  • provide the worker with clear, accurate and current details of their return to work arrangements, and 
  • monitor the worker's progress

2 - Consult directly with the worker about their return to work, with their treating health practitioner (subject to the consent of the worker) and occupational rehabilitation provider (if involved).

3 - For a period of 52 weeks, provide the injured worker with suitable employment if they have a capacity for work and/or pre-injury or equivalent when they have returned to full capacity.

4 - Nominate and appoint a Return to Work Coordinator who has an appropriate level of seniority and is competent to assist the employer meet their return to work obligations.

5 - Make information about return to work available to all workers.

6 - If a host employer, cooperate with the labour hire employer's efforts to meet their return to work obligations and facilitate the worker's return to work.

An employer's return to work obligations start even before the claim has been accepted by their WorkSafe Agent (the Agent) – they commence when he/she receives the injured worker's WorkSafe Certificate of Capacity or claim for weekly payments, or from the date the employer is advised by their Agent that they have received these documents, whichever is earlier.

If you experience any problems, contact your delegate, your OHS Rep or your union immediately.

This leaflet is based on one produced by the National Union of Workers.

See Also:

  • More information on this site on Workers' Compensation and how to put in a claim. This page has links to WorkSafe documents. 
  • WorkSafe information on Injury and Claims, including: 
    • Rights and Responsibilities - WorkSafe has now combined both employer and employee rights and responsibilities for both OHS and Workers' compensation, but it's a good reference page for quick information. 
    • The claims process and what to expect - this page has information for both employers and employees for each step of the process. 
    • Return to Work Obligations: for Employers and for employees
    • The WorkCover poster If You Are Injured [pdf]  Any Victorian workplace required to have a WorkCover policy is also required to display a copy of this poster - otherwise the employer could be liable for a fines of up to $35,835* for a body corporate and $7,167* for a natural person. The poster must be displayed where all workers can read it. (*fines indexed regularly).

Last amended April 2018


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