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Workers: Return-to-work information

Everyone’s experience when recovering from their injury and returning to work is different. Generally, people who return to their workplace as soon as it is safe to do so see improved physical and mental health. Returning to work safely while recovering from an injury requires collaboration between the worker and the employer.

New legal requirements: Duty to cooperate and duty to maintain employment

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

For more information on Bill 41, see:

Benefits for workers

There are many benefits to staying connected to your workplace and returning to work as soon as it is safe to do so after an injury.

Some of the benefits include maintaining:

  • Income and employment benefits
  • Physical and mental health
  • Social contact with your co-workers and workplace
  • Job security by staying in contact with your employer

Steps to take

Employers and workers have a legal duty to cooperate in timely and safe return to work.

To help with your safe and timely return to work, follow these steps:

  1. Talk with your employer as soon as possible and maintain ongoing communication
    Keep in contact with your employer after your injury. The relationship with your employer is key to a successful return to work and a faster recovery.
  2. Stay connected to your workplace
    As much as possible, take part in staff meetings, special events, training, or even coffee with co-workers to stay involved. Staying connected supports a successful recovery and return to work.
  3. Discuss suitable work with your employer
    Together with your employer, identify safe and suitable work for you. The duties must be meaningful, be within your abilities, and not cause harm or slow your recovery. For practical support and accommodation ideas specific to your job tasks, visit Job Demands Accommodation Planning Tool (JDAPT) for workers.
  4. Collaborate with your employer to develop a return-to-work plan
    Create a plan together that focuses on your abilities and progresses over time, with the goal of returning to your pre-injury level of employment and restoring your earnings. Meet with your employer at regular intervals and adjust the plan based on your recovery.
  5. Document your return-to-work plan
    A written return-to-work plan helps everyone understand the plan’s goals and expectations. Although WorkSafeBC doesn’t require medical approval for you to return to work, a written plan can help to update your health care provider on your progress, if needed.

Need help?

Talk to your employer, supervisor, or health care provider if you have any questions about your recovery and return to work.

We’re also here to help. Please call our Claims Call Centre if:

  • You have any questions or concerns about your return to work
  • Your return-to-work plan isn’t progressing as anticipated
  • You have questions about your claim