Sep 17, 2020
Workers’ Compensation for Remote Workers
With the coronavirus pandemic still ramping up across the country, many employees are still working from home and remotely. While working remotely, you might miss some of the benefits of going into the office or the workplace, like free lunches from a cafeteria or just seeing friends and coworkers regularly. Does working from home also mean you lose the benefit of getting workers’ compensation coverage?
Workers’ Compensation Applies to Work, Not Necessarily Workplaces
When an employee is covered by workers’ compensation, they can get medical benefits after an accident suffered in relation to their work duties. There is no requirement that they must be at their workplace in order to get coverage. For example, a person employed to deliver food to customers is still covered by their employer’s policy while they are on the road.
This interpretation of workers’ compensation coverage is important because it extends itself over remote workers. If you work out of your home office or from another remote location, then you are still covered by workers’ compensation as you had been before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The only unusual matter about working from home and workers’ compensation is what sort of accidents or injuries in the home could be considered work-related. For example, if you trip down the stairs in the office, then workers’ compensation should apply since you were in a place owned or controlled by your employer. But tripping down your stairs while working from home is probably not something that would warrant a workers’ comp claim.
What Work Injuries Do Remote Workers Suffer?
Most remote work is done in a home office in front of a computer. As such, a common reason why remote workers file for workers’ compensation is a repetitive stress injury (RSI), specifically a wrist injury like carpal tunnel syndrome. Typing with a keyboard for hours each day can gradually cause wrist strain and injury to the point that safely completing work becomes impossible. Workers’ compensation can be used in such a situation to let the remote worker take time off work and get medical treatments like physical therapy by using benefits provided by the insurance company.