The way we go to work is changing. With the wide availability of high-speed internet access, smartphones and laptops, it has become far easier for many employees to simply get to work at home. With remote work policies, not only do employees save time and gas by skipping the commute, but companies also get to provide a valued workplace perk without impacting productivity and the companies save money by not having to rent additional office space. However, what many employers forget to consider before allowing a remote work policy is the workers’ compensation responsibilities that come with such a policy.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to Remote Employees?
As you may already know, workers’ compensation is focused on workplace accidents but what does that mean when a workplace can technically be anywhere? Well, the law is not simple regarding what it considers compensable if an injury were to occur while you are working remotely.
If you, in the course of your duties as an employee are injured, you may very well be able to seek workers’ compensation. Of course, there are some exceptions you should know about.
Your injury may not be compensable if:
- If you are injured at your home and not “in the course and scope” of your employment
- If you are injured outside of your home while fulfilling a non-work-related duty
- If you are injured outside of the remote office of your choice on a non-work-related task
Simply put, if your injury occurs while performing some task outside of the scope of your job, it may be difficult to seek compensation. However, if you are injured while working from your home office, workers’ compensation could be pursued. We have litigated this issue and won at the trial level but the case is on appeal at this time.
Employees should always ensure that their remote workspace is a safe environment, removing potential trip and fall risk. Additionally, keep detailed time sheets of when you are on the clock, what duties you are completing. This will help prove your claim that your injury occurred while at work.
If you are injured while on the job, at your home office or in your company’s office building, immediately seek medical attention and report the injury as quickly as possible. If your employer refuses to report your injury to their insurance company, call 1-800-342-1741 to report the accident to the State EAO office or contact them yourself with the number provided on the informational sheet (often posted in common rooms within the office).
You do not have to fight for your workers’ compensation alone. Our team of workers’ comp attorneys can help ensure that you receive what you deserve after a workplace injury.