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Significant changes to the obligation to provide suitable employment ahead


Monday 10 July 2023

The Government has released a draft Bill that proposes a range of significant changes to the obligation to provide suitable employment.

It would appear that after only recently making significant amendments to the Return to Work Act 2014 (SA), the State Government cannot resist the temptation to continue tinkering with the legislation, which is likely to deliver a fresh set of challenges for employers – particularly large employers – who are already dealing with a range of issues due to the recent Secure Jobs, Better Pay reforms and volatile economic conditions. In anticipation of an article exploring the proposed changes in more depth, here are some of the key takeaways from the draft Return to Work (Employment and Progressive Injuries) Amendment Bill 2023:

  • Workers who sustain a prescribed dust/fibre disease injury will be allowed to make an election that the relevant employment for the purpose of calculating average weekly earnings is the employment in which the worker is employed at the time of diagnosis.
  • Employers will be relieved of the obligation to provide suitable employment in circumstances where the worker has been dismissed as a consequence of serious and wilful misconduct.
  • In assessing whether it is reasonably practicable for an employer to provide suitable employment, the Tribunal will, in addition to anything else of relevance, be required to have regard to five factors:
    • the size of the employer;
    • the extent of any adjustments required to the role to accommodate the worker;
    • the risk of re-injury and potential for further harm;
    • whether the parties can maintain trust and confidence in the employment relationship; and
    • the impact on other employees.

To read the full alert on DWFoxTucker's website, or download the PDF please click here.

Patrick Walsh
Employment, Workplace Relations & Safety
DW Fox Tucker Lawyers