Worker’s Comp and Remote Workers
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on May 18, 2021
Last March, millions of jobs turned remote as a temporary measure to limit the spread of Covid19. No one could have anticipated they’d be out-of-office for months on end and now, for man, over a year. And yet, 63% of Americans say that they would prefer remote work in the long-term. A recent survey by Axios found that remote workers appreciate the lack of commute, saving money on gas, not having to get dressed up, and increased flexibility and control over their schedule. Many companies are beginning to reconsider their policies in order to accommodate a long term remote option. Of course, this telecommuting revolution presents its own challenges. One common source of
confusion is worker’s comp for remote workers.
Worker’s insurance and compensation is typically a requirement for most employers, especially inherently dangerous or labor intensive jobs. If you work at a desk all day, though, you may not even be aware of coverage, or what qualifies as a work-related injury.
Understanding “On the Job” Worker’s Comp Coverage
Generally, worker’s compensation covers any injury sustained while you’re working, no matter
where it takes place. That is to say, if you are performing any duties related to your job and an
accident happens, you can be compensated, whether at home or in an office.
However, there are some exceptions and gray areas. Most decisions depend on your company’s
policies, state laws, and the specifics of your unique circumstances.
If you’re driving while on the phone with your employer, and you get in an accident, it’s
typically not covered by worker’s compensation. However, if your employer directed or
incentivized you to drive somewhere as part of your work, it may be covered.
Another tricky situation pertains to your times of “personal comfort” during the workday. If you
injure yourself while making lunch at home, it usually is covered. But, if you’re walking your dog
or running errands while on your lunch break, it probably won’t be. Lunch, coffee, or using the
restroom are built-in breaks during the workday that usually are covered. But if you use these
breaks to complete personal tasks that are unrelated to your job responsibilities, your chance
of compensation is less likely.
Difficulty for Remote Employees
Employees also have the burden of proving that the accident occurred while working, which
can be hard to do if you were alone when it happened. If your company has set hours (i.e., 9-5)
and the injury happened outside of those hours, you will likely not be compensated.
Educating yourself on worker’s comp policies is important. As more and more jobs
turn remote, employers may provide more exhaustive guidelines and expectations for remote
workers. These policies may limit your workspace and specific duties, reducing the possibilities
Worker’s compensation can help cover medical expenses as well as lost wages. If you sustain a
workplace injury on the job, even while working at home, don’t hesitate to file a claim. For more
information about worker’s comp claims in the in the state of Kentucky or in Southern Indiana,
contact the experienced attorneys at Cooper & Friedman PLLC. Call 502-459-7555 for more
information or to schedule a free case consultation with a lawyer.