Starting in the new year, B.C. employers will be required to cooperate in a worker’s timely and safe return to work after an injury.
The new requirement comes as part of a change to the B.C. Workers Compensation Act that is aimed at better supporting injured workers as they return to their job or other suitable employment. The employer and injured worker will be required to cooperate with each other and WorkSafeBC to ensure the worker can return to their pre-injury job, a comparable job or other suitable work if the employee is not fit to do their pre-injury job.
Employers must maintain employment for workers with injury claims dating from July 1, 2023 onward.
Employers with more than 20 workers will have a legal duty to maintain a worker’s employment.
The new requirements come into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
The province has said these provisions will help WorkSafeBC with overseeing the return-to-work process by laying out clear expectations for both the employer and worker. Through it, WorkSafeBC will also be able to impose administrative penalties on employers who fail to comply with these obligations.
The duty to cooperate applies to all employers and workers, along with injury claims dating from Jan. 1, 2022 onward.