Can Telecommuters Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

 

Generally, yes, a person who is working from home can receive worker’s compensation benefits so long as he or she sustained an injury during the course of employment. The employee would bear the burden of proving that the injury did indeed stem from a work-related activity. 

Some common terms used when discussing a worker’s compensation claim include “arising out of” which refers to what the employee was doing at the time of the injury, and “in the course of” which refers to when the injury happened. A successful workers’ compensation claim will be able to prove that the employee was acting in the interest of the employer at the time the injury occurred. 

What if You are Working After Regular Office Hours?  

There can be special circumstances in which an employee would be compensated for an injury outside of regular working hours. A worker may be eligible for workers’ comp if he or she was injured commuting to or from work when required to be away from his or her regular workplace or home to perform work duties that directly benefit the employer.

Additionally, a worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation if the injury occurs while commuting to or from work when the employee interrupts his or her normal route to conduct a work task or special mission required by the employer.

How do Employers Limit Workers’ Compensation Liability for Home-Based Employees? 

Employers who wish to limit their workers’ comp liability for employees working from home can do so by establishing some guidelines.  Create a telecommuting policy that outlines the employer’s expectations for employees who work from home and that establishes some required parameters for a home office.  These might require the employee to work in a designated work area and comply with certain safety measures. Employer provided training on workstation setup, ergonomics and other similar topics may serve to further limit liability. 

For help creating policy on telecommuting contact the employment lawyers at Simon | Pascal PLLC

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