Many people are newly experiencing the joys and tribulations of working remotely — and it comes with unexpected challenges. One of those is the issue of workers’ compensation. If you’re injured in your own home, can it really be your employer’s responsibility?
Yes, it can. Think of it this way: If you work for a lawn and garden care service and you’re injured in an accident while working on a client’s yard or while driving a load of mulch somewhere, you’d rightfully expect workers’ compensation. Working from home isn’t any different. You’re still on the clock, even if you aren’t in the office.
Here’s where it can get tricky, however: The courts can draw a fine line between actions that are part of your work experience — those that further your employer’s interests — and ones that are purely for your benefit. This also has its basis in the usual laws. If you’re injured in a crash on your way to or from your job, your employer wouldn’t be liable. Similarly, if you trip on your way from your bedroom to your home office and break an arm, you probably wouldn’t be covered under workers’ compensation.
To protect your rights when you work at home, it’s smart to have a clear understanding with your employer about your working space, including any safety concerns. You should also establish clear working hours, including your scheduled breaks, since that can help make it clearer when you are on or off the clock.
Work injuries are bound to happen — even when employees work from home. If you suffer a workplace injury while working at home, explore all of your available means of compensation.