The number of employees working from home in the US continues to rise, and you may be a member of this group.
If you sustain an injury while completing tasks for the benefit of your employer, do you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation coverage
The number of people working remotely increased by 159% from 2005 to 2017. By 2020, here in the US, more than 4.7 million people worked remotely at least half the time and the number continues to increase. Almost every state requires workers’ compensation coverage for the remote and telecommuting workforce. No matter where an injury occurs, as long as the incident takes place during work hours or while the injured party is completing a task on behalf of the employer, workers’ compensation coverage is in force.
Safe work environment
Safety is a concern for employees who work from home just as there is for those who work on-site. Most employers develop procedures that help their remote employees avoid hazards. The company policy might include a description of the designated work area, the equipment it contains and the scope of work the employer expects.
Burden of proof
Courts generally find that while an employer does not control a remote work environment, this is not grounds for denying workers’ compensation benefits for an injured employee. Still, the burden of proof for an injury rests with the employee seeking benefits. An advocate can step in and help the remote worker who must provide evidence and prove that he or she was engaged in a task on behalf of the employer when the injury occurred.