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Employers: Return-to-work information

Supporting people in their recovery at work is good for them and good for your business. Having workers perform some duties while they recover keeps them connected with you and can prevent long-lasting disability. Recovery at work requires teamwork between you, the worker, and the worker's health care provider(s).

New legal requirements: Duties to co-operate and maintain employment

The provincial government has made amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that affect return to work. Starting January 1, 2024, employers and workers will have a legal duty to co-operate with each other and with WorkSafeBC in timely and safe return to work following a worker’s injury, and certain employers will have an obligation to return injured workers to work in specific circumstances.

For more information, see:

Work is a big part of a person's life, and remaining connected to the workplace and feeling valued goes a long way to helping workers recover faster.

No two people recover from an injury or illness at the same time in the same way. But people who return to employment as soon as possible usually recover faster. A worker doesn't have to be 100 percent to be able to contribute at work.

The benefits of recovering at work for businesses

By helping workers stay on the job as they recover, your business can see several benefits. These may include:

  • Retention of a skilled and experienced worker, which reduces recruitment and retraining costs
  • Enhanced worker and employer relationships. Keeping the injured worker connected demonstrates that you value your workers.
  • Reduced burden on co-workers
  • Reduced productivity losses and workflow interruptions
  • Reduced WorkSafeBC premiums

Steps you can take

When an injury occurs, provide first aid and report the injury to us.

If the injury is serious, the worker may not be able to do any work activity and may need some time off. If the injury is less serious, encourage the worker to recover on the job.

You can also take the following steps to support recovery:

  1. Talk with the worker as soon as possible
  2. Make contact soon after the injury to inquire about the worker's well-being and offer your support. The relationship workers have with you and their supervisors is key to a successful return to work and a faster recovery.

  3. Ask the worker what duties they can do
  4. Be flexible, and together plan modified or alternate duties. Consider what would be safe and suitable for the injury. To support recovery, the duties must be meaningful.

  5. Document the plan using our modified work offer form
  6. Give the injured worker a copy, and send one to us too. The worker should discuss the plan with their health care provider to get recommendations for safe activities that could help the recovery.

  7. Collaborate with the worker and their health care provider(s)
  8. Let them know what modified duties are available for the worker. Encourage everyone to focus on what the worker can do. Meet with the worker at regular intervals. Collaboratively develop a recover-at-work plan that progresses the worker back to full duties and full hours. Modify the plan as needed. Check to be sure there is progress toward full resumption of regular duties.

  9. Keep the worker connected to the workplace
  10. It helps with the worker's recovery. Include them in staff meetings and other meetings, special events, training, or even coffee with co-workers to keep them involved.

Need help?

We're here to assist you. Please call our Claims Call Centre if:

  • You have any questions or concerns about a worker's recovery and return-to-work
  • You encounter any roadblocks
  • A return-to-work plan lasts longer than three to four weeks
  • The worker isn't making progress toward returning to full duties