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9.2 What is Suitable Work/Employment?
The concept of suitable work or employment is a basic principle of any vocational rehabilitation program. Accordingly it is defined in the VVRS Instrument (VEA), Section 4 of the SRCA and Section 5 of the MRCA.
Detailed commentary on the concept of suitable work/employment is included in section 2.3.1 of this manual. While this commentary is focussed on the definition of suitable employment in Section 4 of the SRCA, it is equally applicable under the MRCA and for the VVRS.
The definitions of suitable work/employment are designed to ensure that a vocational rehabilitation program aims to find suitable paid work for a client, taking into account the client's personal circumstances including:
- the person's transferrable skills from employment they undertook prior to their injury or disease;
- their general employment background including any training and other skills;
- their suitability to undertake vocational retraining;
- the labour market in the location where the person resides; and
- any restrictions or limitations imposed by any medical condition (not just those which have been accepted as service related) from which the person suffers.
Liaison with the client's treating health practitioners, particularly their treating GP or specialist, is important to inform understanding of the types of employment that may be most suitable for a client. At times, it is likely to be important to share information about the client's accepted conditions or medical restrictions with an employer. This may occur, for example, prior to commencement of a work trial, to ensure that the employer is able to confirm that the working environment is safe and suitable for the client and his/her work colleagues. It is important that the client's consent is always obtained before any medical information, including information about the client's accepted conditions, is shared with an employer. This approach ensures that the client's privacy is protected, consistent with the Australian Privacy Principles.