Voluntary Rehabilitation Programme
for Employees Injured at Work
Voluntary Rehabilitation Programme
Jointly launched by the Labour Department and the insurance industry, the Voluntary
Rehabilitation Programme (VRP) aims at providing injured employees with timely
and free rehabilitation services for a speedier recovery and an early return to work
under safe circumstances.
The participating insurers in the VRP would identify appropriate work injury cases,
initiate contacts with the injured employees and invite them to join the programme.
The participating insurers or their appointed loss adjusters will provide rehabilitation
services to the injured employees, including drawing up an effective rehabilitation
plan to facilitate them to receive appropriate treatment as early as possible.
Points to Note for Employees
The VRP provides injured employees with an additional channel to receive free
medical evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation services provided by the participating
insurers or their appointed loss adjusters through medical / rehabilitation organisations
in the private sector. Aside from facilitating the injured employees to receive timely
treatment of their injuries, the VRP is conducive to their speedier recovery and the
alleviation of the permanent impairment resulting from their injuries. With the care
given by others, the injured employees may not only better recover and regain their
confidence, but also resume their post earlier. Under the VRP, the participating
insurers will pay for all the rehabilitation services (including medical treatment).
The injured employees need not shoulder any costs in this respect.
“Work Trial” Arrangement
Return-to-work (or “Work Trial”) is the arrangement of transitional work for injured
employees (i.e. light duties which are suitable and have no impact on the employees’
medical condition) during the rehabilitation process. This may not only help the
injured employees recover and regain confidence at work, but also help them better
adapt to the post upon their recovery.
Where the attending doctor has certified that the injured employee is fit for “Work Trial”, rehabilitation professionals (e.g. specialist doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and registered nurses, etc.) will recommend “Work Trial” for the
injured employee in appropriate circumstances. The attending doctor will specify
the detailed arrangements of “Work Trial”, such as the nature of work, hours of work
and duration of “Work Trial”, etc. The concerned insurer and employer will then
work out the necessary arrangements. As “Work Trial” will only be appropriately
arranged where the injured employee has been certified by the attending doctor as
being fit for undertaking the relevant work, and it is an integral part of the
rehabilitation process, the work so arranged should not adversely affect the
Payments for “Work Trial” period
If an injured employee is unable to resume his full earning capacity during
the “Work Trial” period and earns less than before the accident, he is
entitled to periodical payments during this period of “temporary incapacity”
in accordance with the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO). The amount
of periodical payments equals to four-fifths of the difference between
the employee’s monthly earnings at the time of the accident and his monthly
earnings during the period of temporary incapacity.
Assuming that the monthly earnings
of an injured employee at the time of the accident is $10,000 and
his monthly earnings during the work trial period is $6,000, then
the amount of periodical payments during the 1-month work trial
period should be $3,200, i.e. ($10,000 - $6,000) x 4/5. Together
with the $6,000 salary earned during the work trial period, the
injured employee should be paid a total of $9,200 for that month.
Injured Employees’ Right to Claim
Participation in the VRP will not affect the rights and benefits of the injured
employees under the ECO. Their entitlements to statutory compensation will still be
calculated in accordance with the ECO. Assessment of permanent incapacity will
continue to be conducted by the Employees’ Compensation Assessment Board
appointed by the Commissioner for Labour in accordance with the ECO.
Injured employees should actively participate in the rehabilitation programme and
respect the advice of the rehabilitation professionals. They have the right to make a
request to the insurers for access to their rehabilitation reports. To enable the
attending doctors / hospitals to have a better understanding on the recovery of the
employees, insurers may provide rehabilitation reports to the doctors / hospitals with
prior consent from the employees. Injured employees should note that the loss
adjusters responsible for investigating their claim cases may also access to the
rehabilitation progress reports and case closure reports with their consent, as well as
the medical reports obtained under their consent, so as to advise the insurers in respect
of the claims.
Participation of injured employees in the VRP is entirely voluntary. They can decide
on their own whether to accept the insurers’ invitation or not. If they have
difficulties in continuing with the programme after joining, they may withdraw from it
at any time.
The participating insurers or their appointed loss adjusters will arrange the injured
employees to receive rehabilitation services from medical / rehabilitation
organisations in the private sector. The concerned rehabilitation professionals are
qualified health care professionals registered under the relevant Ordinances. In
general, rehabilitation services may include medical treatment, physiotherapy,
occupational therapy, etc. The types of rehabilitation services to be provided would
depend on the injured employees’ individual circumstances and needs.
The Rehabilitation Process
The rehabilitation process may vary taking into account individual circumstances and
needs. Typical processes involve initial assessment on the medical conditions of the
injured employees by rehabilitation professionals, formulation of an effective
rehabilitation plan and explanation of the plan to the employees.
An injured employee may be invited to give written consent to the insurer or loss
adjuster to obtain medical reports from his attending doctor / hospital. If the
situation so warrants, the rehabilitation professionals may also accompany the
employee to attend medical follow-ups after obtaining his consent, in order to consult
the attending doctor whether any rehabilitation services could helpfully be provided at
the insurer’s expenses. However, the rehabilitation professionals should wait until
the completion of the treatment and consultation before meeting the attending doctor
together with the employee, so as to avoid impinging on doctor-patient confidentiality.
“Injury Management Coordinators”
The participating insurers will appoint an “Injury Management Coordinator” to
coordinate and follow up with the injured employees and parties concerned in the
course of the running of the rehabilitation programme. For example, the Coordinator
will liaise with the injured employee and rehabilitation professionals in the initial
stage, then follow up with the communication between the injured employee and his
supervisor, and coordinate the arrangement of “Work Trial” to ensure that the injured
employee can participate in the work trial smoothly and safely. The Coordinator
should spare no efforts in facilitating the early recovery of the injured employee,
without any involvement in the investigation work of the insurance claim.
Employers should encourage and support their injured employees’ participation in the
Employers’ care and active cooperation may not only expedite the recovery of their
injured employees, but also facilitate their early return to work, thereby lessening the
negative impact of the work accidents upon the employees, enhancing the employees’
sense of belonging, boosting their morale and improving labour relations. In
addition, regular communication between the management and staff through the VRP
can help foster their relationship, enhance the employers’ productivity and strengthen
During the sick leave period of their injured employees, apart from being required to
effect periodical payments, the employers may need to hire replacement workers.
This involves significant time and costs in respect of recruitment, training and
adaptation to the work process. Hence, the injured employees’ early return to work
after receiving timely treatment would effectively reduce the corporate costs and
lessen the negative impact on the organisations’ daily operation.
If the attending doctor certifies that the injured employee is fit for “Work Trial”, the
employer should make appropriate arrangements as far as possible. During the
“Work Trial” period, the employer and the injured employee should communicate and
work closely with the “Injury Management Coordinator” and rehabilitation
professionals to ensure a smooth and safe “Work Trial”, so as to help the injured
employee regain confidence towards work and re-adapt to the post.
Insurers participating in the VRP
At present, there are more than ten insurers participating in the VRP. For details, please contact the branch offices of the Employees’
Compensation Division of the Labour Department, or click here to acquire a list of insurers who have participated in the VRP.
Enquiries on the VRP can be directed to the relevant branch offices of the Employees’
Compensation Division of the Labour Department.
Address of the Branch Offices of the Employees’ Compensation Division
Hong Kong Office
(cases on Hong Kong Island, outlying Islands and outside Hong Kong)
|Room 1605, 16/F, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Hong Kong.
(cases in Kowloon, Sai Kung and cases involving seamen and government employees)
|Room 1007, 10/F, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon.
|Tsuen Wan Office
(cases in Kwai Chung, Tsing Yi, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long)
|6/F, Tsuen Wan Government Offices, 38 Sai Lau Kok Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories.
(cases in Shatin, Taipo, Fanling and North District)
|Room 239, 2/F, Shatin Government Offices, 1 Sheung Wo Che Road, Shatin, New Territories.