icare Foundation General Manager Barney Smith said while three-quarters of injured workers return to work within the first 13 weeks, for those that remain off work longer, their chances of returning are much reduced.
“Social isolation and psychosocial issues can develop when people are away from their workplace for long periods of time,” said Mr Smith.
“More than 8,000 people were off work for longer than three months in 2018, according to our workers insurance claims. We have seen a steady increase in the proportion of workers insurance claims requiring 90 days or more off work over the past five years,” said Mr Smith.
“We’ve recognised that there is a need to explore improved support for the complex personal and social barriers these injured workers must overcome in order to return to work.
“We know that prolonged unemployment during a person’s productive years can seriously impact on the quality of life of injured individuals and their families. By improving the support for recovering workers in NSW, we can make a profound difference to their lives,” he said.
“The ideas are out there. We received more than 90 applications from non-for-profit, business, academic and government organisations for the WorkUp investment call."
“We selected these eight organisations because they came to us with strong business cases based on evidence-based, innovative approaches that could be adapted for workers insurance to deliver real benefits for injured workers, employers and the people of NSW,” he added.
The eight recipients took part in an extensive co-design process with icare staff, along with best-in-class social impact specialists to refine and develop their idea, accessing icare data and insights to better understand and test against real challenges faced by NSW injured workers.
“icare Foundation provides measurement capability so that we can learn whether and how the intervention is creating outcomes, pivot if we need to, and make sure that we can report real impact," said Mr Smith.