About Mediation

Mediation has proven to be very effective as an early intervention strategy to facilitate and end  disputes and, assist with an early return to work in workers’ compensation matters.  It also acts as a pro-active strategy to resolve workplace conflict before workers’ compensation claims are lodged.

It is clear that an aggrieved employee is unlikely to return to the workplace if the environment remains unchanged or, if the individual feels unsafe.  A delayed return impacts on the individual’s health and well being and the absence disrupts the workplace operation.  It increases costs both in time and money with an impact on both the employer and industry levies.

By focusing on achieving viable and realistic solutions owned by the parties in dispute, mediation can reduce the costs and time involved in settling disputes and minimises the level of resistance between employers and employees. Participants have told us mediation is quicker and less stressful than litigation.

A former Federal Attorney General told the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators of Australia (now known as the Resolution Institute) that industrial relations reforms will mean voluntary alternative dispute resolution (like mediation) will become central to workplace relations practice (source: Australasian Legal Business).

Associate Professor Kathy Alexander in a Draft Report reviewing the healthcare infrastructure for the then WorkCover Corporation (now South Australian Return to Work SA Corporation) stated “industrial relation issues including conflict in the workplace has caused stigmatisation following the injury and can have serious obstacles to returning an injured worker to work.”

Mediation and Employment Relations Services (MERS) specialises in mediating workplace disputes and problems, whether they arise in industrial relations or workers compensation arenas and has mediated in over 600 claims.

Mediation services by qualified and accredited mediators are used extensively in the workers compensation arena when employees are unable to return to work due to allegations of inappropriate behaviour.  This can be the result of allegations of such behaviour by fellow workers or management.

A number of questions quite often arise with workplace conflict such as:

  • Are you in dispute with your boss or a colleague?
  • Do you feel safe?
  • Do you have a simmering issue between two of your employees or a group of employees?
  • Do employees on workers compensation find it difficult to return to work following a “stress” claim?
  • Are you having difficulties resolving conflict between two employees which is impacting on productivity and absenteeism?

Then you can explore how we can help.

During the mediation process the participants will learn more about mediation and our approach which commences with pre-mediation conferences held separately with the parties who are invited to have a support person (friend, family member, union etc).  Mediation is conducted at our rooms which are purpose built for mediation.

Do you as an employer require assistance in facilitating the early return to work of injured workers?  Employers tell us that the following impact on their business and staff morale and the longer the absence the harder it becomes for both the employer and employee.

The claim also impacts on employers’ :

  • Increases the Return to Work SA levy payments for that employer and the industry
  • Disrupts their business
  • Involves them in unplanned appointments
  • Paper work
  • Entering “unchartered waters”
  • Uncertainty of when a return to work will occur
  • To recruit or not to recruit a temporary or permanent employee
  • Non-recoverable legal expenses and other costs associated with the claim
  • Managing the claim
  • Time consuming

An injured worker’s claim also impacts on that individual and his/her family, friendships and the community.

Employees have told us that they find themselves :

  • Repeating their concerns and events to doctors and other strangers
  • Loss of self esteem
  • Their relationship both at work and at home is impacted adversely
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of daily contact with their colleagues
  • Loss of daily routine (attending medical & other appointments and disruptions to their day to day activities including childcare)
  • Loss of control over their lives.

CLICK HERE to download our collaborative return to work services brochure.

Watch this brief video for an explanation of the mediation process.

If you do not specifically require a mediated solution but other work related advisory services, then please click here to learn more.