Return to Work Matters

Welcome to 2020, and our new-look newsletter! In this first edition we give you the lowdown on the hot mess in NSW (we're talking workers' comp, not bushfire crisis, but we've included a bushfire donation guide in the news section down below if you're looking for a way to support the many people, animals and ecosystems impacted by this awful national disaster); a cancer survivor and work researcher's insights into RTW; the hard facts on young men, alcohol and absenteeism in Australia; and a crash course in how to encourage optimism, not helplessness, in injured workers.



icare laid bare

Think baby, think bathwater. Following icare's 2018 reforms, NSW workers' comp has been beset by falling RTW rates and rising premiums. Now we know that implementation problems are largely to blame. Icare wanted a more humane, evidence-based workers’ comp system, but problems with claims triage, case management software and provisional liability have caused headaches for employers and injured workers. What can we learn from the mess that's followed? And will the evidence-based baby be thrown out, along with the sub-par implementation (aka the dirty bathwater, if you're still following our little analogy)? <read more...>

Contributor Gabrielle Lis

Tagged in: Claims Management, Case management, Evidence based policy making, New South Wales



How employers can help cancer survivors return to work – based on my own experience

Stephan Bevan survived cancer and returned to work at the Institute for Employment Studies at Lancaster University. This is what he wants employers to know. <read more...>

Contributor Stephen Bevan, Lancaster University

Tagged in: Cancer



But I don't have a problem! Young workers and risky drinking

Many of us will have a hangover or two during party season, but for some workers (especially young men) the party lasts all year. How does drinking impact absenteeism in Australian workplaces? <read more...>

Contributor Francesca McSteen

Tagged in: Drugs - Alcohol, Sickness absence, Research update



Learned helplessness in RTW

One of the most common complaints we hear from RTW professionals is around the impossibility of helping injured workers who don't seem to want to help themselves. There's a term for passivity in the face of life's problems: learned helplessness. Psychologist Martin Seligman says he has taught dogs and people to be passive in the face of problems, but in good news for RTW professionals (and puppy owners!) he says optimism can be taught too. <read more...>

Contributor A. Richey

Tagged in: Early intervention, Long term / complex cases, Psychological, Psychological - other




Industry News


Bush fire donations: a how-to guide

Do your homework, give cash and avoid scams, says the Guardian. <Visit news article>

Published on January 13, 2020

Tagged in: National



Four healthy, happy habits to beat back to work blues

You won't need to actually read this article, because it has funny GIFs! (Just kidding! The advice is great, as is the comedy.) <Visit news article>

Published on January 13, 2020

Tagged in: National



NSW and Vic, where is the safety net for injured workers?

Investigative journalist Adele Ferguson says that workers' compensation schemes may have dodged the "royal commission blowtorch," but "serious and profound shortcomings in NSW and Victoria" are hurting workers and employers. <Visit news article>

Published on January 13, 2020

Tagged in: National



The latest on how doctors can foster real connection with patients

Medical researchers are honing in on the exact things doctors can do to create positive, connected therapeutic relationships with patients - something we urgently need in workers' compensation. <Visit news article>

Published on January 13, 2020

Tagged in: World



February webinar: Good work design – it is in the DNA of a human-centred organisation

Dr Sara Pazell 4th February 2020 3pm AEDT. Click the link to register.

Build a team of RTW champions

You can’t do this alone – return to work is a team sport. Upskill and inspire your workplace with unlimited access to Return to Work Matters. An unlimited corporate membership unlocks our extensive knowledge base, enabling you to use Return to Work Matters resources in your internal newsletters or on your intranet pages. We tailor distribution to reach your team your way – via email, in-house channels, open link newsletters or intranet packages.


Industry events and training
All events listed here are conducted by external training providers and organisations. Members should contact the providers directly to determine suitability and book their place. You are also welcome to submit your own event here.
Tue 21st Jan 2020, 9:00 am, Canberra
Comcare Scheme: Workplace Rehabilitation Provider Training
Specific knowledge and skills to actively undertake the role of a WRP consultant, in accordance with the requirements of the SRC Act. The program outlines Comcare&#039;s return to work model, legislation, procedural aspects of the return to work proce

Wed 29th Jan 2020, 9:00 am, Sydney
Comcare Scheme: Workplace Rehabilitation Provider Training
Specific knowledge and skills to actively undertake the role of a WRP consultant, in accordance with the requirements of the SRC Act. The program outlines Comcare's return to work model, legislation, procedural aspects of the return to work process.

Mon 03rd Feb 2020, ,
ICCPIM 2020: International Conference on Chronic Pain and Injury Management
The International Research Conference is a federated organization dedicated to bringing together a significant number of diverse scholarly events for presentation within the conference program.

Tue 11th Feb 2020, 8:30am, Commodore on the park Cnr Jubillee Highway and Penola Road Mount Gambier
Return to work in the regions - 1 day intensive workshop, Mount Gambier
The aim is for participants to leave the workshop with an action plan and the practical tools to implement key strategies and initiatives to maximise injury management, return to work, and mental health throughout their organisation.

Mon 17th Feb 2020, , Swissotel Sydney 68 Market St, Sydney NSW 2000
21st Annual National Workers' Compensation Summit
Australia's leading platform for legislative updates and workers' compensation case studies

Wed 26th Feb 2020, , Bayview Eden Melbourne
Mental Health Strategies for First Responders
Driving cultural change & engaging staff to normalise mental health in the workplace
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