Are you eligible for workers’ compensation as a remote employee?

Nov 11, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

The pandemic has substantially changed the world of work in Pennsylvania and throughout America. For example, working remotely has become more commonplace than ever before. At first, it was a sensible way to prevent the spread of illness. Keeping people apart supposedly inhibited the transmission of the virus.

Then employees and employers realized that workers could be equally productive functioning from their homes as they were in the office. No more tiresome commuting or getting dressed in business attire for the workplace. Virtual meetings and various technologies allowed for collaboration and facilitated the exchange of ideas to take place almost as readily as if it were done face-to-face.

However, some questions emerged about the fine points of working from home as opposed to working from an office. One of them involves whether employees who telecommute are eligible for workers’ compensation if they are injured at home while on the job.

You still qualify for workers’ comp, although the process may be more complex

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website, “Yes. In general, an employee injury or illness is compensable under workers’ compensation if it arises out of and in the course of employment, regardless of the location the injury occurs.”

There are some caveats. The SHRM site goes on to state that certain conditions do apply to receive workers’ compensation if you work from home: “Employees typically have the burden of proving that the injury is work-related. ‘Arising out of’ refers to what the employee was doing at the time of the injury, and ‘in the course of’ refers to when the injury happened.”

So, for instance, if you burn yourself while making lunch at home during working hours, you cannot claim workers’ compensation even though you got hurt during the workday. You were obviously not doing a work-related activity. 

If you get injured while doing something at home that you can show was directly connected to your job, that could very well be covered by workers’ compensation.

Ask about your eligibility if you are not sure

Workers’ compensation regulations can be confounding to the uninitiated. Consult someone with experience who can provide you with clarity about them.

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