At-home workers are eligible for workers’ compensation, unless …
Striking a good work-life balance is a challenge. Self-employed individuals in the St. Louis region might find it easier to find the middle ground than hired workers, but the digital age offers hope for change. Many employers, recognizing that finding and keeping good people requires some flexibility, now allow some employees to work from home. So, what are the workers’ compensation coverage challenges in this scenario?
You’re still covered
Be assured, if you are on the clock and suffer an injury in the performance of your work, workers compensation coverage generally exists. State laws can vary, but it usually doesn’t matter where you happen to be.
However, workers’ compensation is insurance, and insurers make money by collecting premiums and paying out as little as possible on claims. Denials of legitimate claims happen, and they can be easier to issue in cases involving remote work.
For example, if your company’s policy is that workers must work in the office, the rule might include training and support to ensure that you take regular breaks. You might also be encouraged to set up your station following known ergonomic standards. The law requires employers to provide safe work environments and these actions serve to create that – reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Failing to comply could trigger an investigation and fines by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
If you work from home, however, the employee bears some responsibility for safety. OSHA won’t conduct inspections. If you suffer injury while working at home and it turns out your practices didn’t comply with safety standards as set by your employer, denial of claim is possible.
In the end, much depends on the circumstances of your particular case, which is why consulting an experienced attorney is always recommended.