Articles

RTW Trends in South Australia 2005-06 to 2011-12

RTWMatters team

Return to work trends, influences on return to work, insurer customer service and demographic trends.

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The durable return to work rate, a proxy for sustainable return to work, has fallen again in South Australia this year.

In 2008-09 the South Australian (SA) durable return to work rate increased, meeting the national average.

But over the last two years the rate has once again been in decline. It is now 9% below the national average. This is consistent with the percentage of South Australian employees interviewed who say they are still receiving weekly compensation payments. 42% of SA employees report they are still receiving compensation payments seven months after lodging their claim, compared to 25% nationally.

South Australian employees take longer to return to durable work, on average two weeks longer than the national average.

South Australians are more likely to report a return to work plan has been developed but are less likely to report the plan has been helpful. They are more likely to report their main supervisor made return to work harder and this has been trending up over the last three years, in line with the decrease in return to work rates.

Rehabilitation providers and doctors were seen as the most helpful groups in return to work, and the insurer rated better than the national average in not making return to work harder!

Over 30% of employees interviewed said someone had made their return to work harder. While this is now in line with the national average, it remains a significant figure.

South Australia WorkCover is currently beset with problems. These include poor and declining return to work results, problems with the financial cost of the scheme (underfunded liabilities and the highest Australian premium rates) and loss of the senior executive team at the WorkCover SA.

The scheme is a major problem for the state, with the potential to further impact SA's credit rating.