Q My employer allows me to telecommute two days per week—if I am hurt while working from home, will I still be covered by workers’ compensation?
As we move forward into the new millennium, more and more employers are beginning to realize the benefits of incorporating technology into their day-to-day business operations. Many companies are using this technology to allow their employees the option to telecommute for a percentage of week, allowing each employee the flexibility they need to be happier and more productive.
With this move, however, has grown a new confusion over workers’ compensation coverage. Are employees still covered by their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance when they are injured at their home during their work hours? How will employers and employees work together to ensure that work time and leisure time at the remote location is clearly divided? Frankly, your confusion is understandable, and you are not alone.
Fortunately, the law is on your side if your telecommuting injury is clearly within your work scope. The Telework Enhancement Act has paved the way for clearer policy on the matter, and employers are encouraged to increase engagement with telecommuting employees. This will typically be encouraged in one of two ways, or both:
- Your employer should come by and check out your workspace, and you should both enter into an agreement over what is considered your actual office space.
- You and your employer should also enter into an agreement over your work hours and duties while you are telecommuting.
By ensuring that both of these bases are covered in written and signed contracts, you can better protect your rights should you ever be injured on the job. While working from home can present challenges in the workers’ compensation process, it is still quite possible that you will be able to obtain coverage for your workplace injury. If you have been hurt while telecommuting, reach out to my firm today to learn more about your case.