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Returning to work

It can be difficult to juggle and organise your return to work after injury, illness or parental leave. Employers should be flexible and supportive when it comes to helping you return. It is against the law to discriminate against an injured or ill worker or a worker returning from parental leave.


Employers must seriously consider reasonable requests from employees to adjust their working arrangements so they can return from injury or meet parental responsibilities.

A mother sits on a beanbag with her newborn baby in her lap.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Returning after injury and illness

Discrimination against an injured or ill worker is against the law, regardless of whether the injury happened at work or outside the workplace.

An ‘injured worker’ includes a person with a temporary or permanent disability, physical or otherwise.

If you become ill or are injured you should work out with your employer:

  • the suitable time away from work to recover
  • a reasonable return-to-work plan
  • appropriate duties when you return.

Read more about disability discrimination.

Returning after parental leave

While you don’t have an automatic right to move from full-time to part-time work, the law requires employers to seriously consider reasonable requests from employees to adjust their working arrangements so they can meet their parental responsibilities.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for more information or read more about pregnancy discrimination and parental and carer discrimination.

Training and resources for employers

We offer training for employers as well as a number of useful resources on discrimination and the law.

Understanding the difference between reasonable adjustments and flexible work

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Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

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1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

1300 152 494

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1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

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0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges that we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.