The advent of internet technology has made many things possible, and one of these is telecommuting which is also known as “remote work” or “work from home.” The rise of remote work is a fact proven by the State of Remote Work, a yearly data report about telecommuting. According to the report, 16% of companies in the United States are fully remote while 40% are hybrid which means that these companies offer both office and remote work.
What is Work from Home?
Work from Home (WFH), telecommuting, or remote work refers to the type of work that employees perform in their place of residence or any place other than the plant or office owned by their company. It is made possible by the internet and the help of modern information technology tools like video conferencing and collaborative technology applications.
Many positions in a company including marketing, customer service, sales, search engine optimization, and computer programming work well under this setup. An increasing number of companies or industries are considering work-from-home jobs for some positions because it offers a win-win solution for both the employer and the employee in a lot of ways.
As an employer, the work-from-home setup can help you cut certain costs. It is also believed to improve the efficiency of employees because they don’t need to expend energy commuting from home to their workplace.
Is Working from Home Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
The advantages of working from home are numerous – from saving costs to improving productivity. But is it covered by workers’ compensation? What can you expect if a telecommuter gets injured while on duty?
Generally, any employee who gets ill or injured in the course of his/her employment is covered under the workers’ compensation law regardless of where the injury happens as long as they can establish:
- The injury is work-related
- What the employee was doing when the injury occurred
- The time when the employee sustained the injury
- The employee was acting in the interest of the employer when the injury occurred.
Injuries that occur outside of the workplace such as injuries that happen during a business trip, while making an official visit to a client or during a delivery are perfect examples of injuries that happen outside of the workplace. These are all covered by workers’ compensation. Relatively, when an injury happens to an employee who works from home, he/she should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Employers that offer remote work assure their employees that they are covered by workers’ compensation when they get injured on the job. Many employers even work with workers comp claims management services to make sure that their remote workers are taken care of.
The law considers the home of a home-based employee as his/her work premises. Therefore, whatever hazards the employee is exposed to when working at home are considered hazards of his/her employment.
Employers are responsible for providing telecommuting employees with a safe work environment the same way they are required to provide a safe workplace for employees who work in their facility or property.
Employers are however, authorized to establish and implement a set of rules or practices for telecommuters in order to limit their workers’ compensation liability.
- Define a designated work area at home where telecommuters can perform their job.
- Provide them with safety training and workstation setup in order to prevent workplace accidents.
- Conduct checks of remote workers’ home offices to identify and eliminate safety hazards in the area.
- Set specific work hours, meal times and rest periods. It can help to establish certain facts such as whether the incident that caused the injury happened “in the course of employment.
Workers’ compensation laws vary from one state to another. As an employer, you should work with competent workers’ comp management services to determine effective legal strategies to manage the workers’ compensation risks of your remote employees.
Are All Remote Workers Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
The rise of remote work gave rise to the filing of workers’ compensation claims for injuries telecommuters sustained while working at home. But not all remote workers are entitled to workers’ compensation. There is one type of worker that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover, and these are the independent contractors.
By law, employers are not required to purchase workers’ compensation coverage for independent contractors. However, some states like Pennsylvania allow independent contractors to claim workers’ compensation benefits if they can prove that they are treated as employees while they work from home.
Workers’ compensation is a legal mandate you must comply with as an employer. It requires an investment, but it is something you must do to keep your business going without legal problems.
Make your enterprise a pillar your employees can depend by offering the best possible treatment and care coordination with a reputable Managed Care Company like Novare. We can help save you money on cost containment and make your workers’ compensation process easier!
Call Novare Network at (866) 532-1929 to learn more about our workers’ comp management and other services. We can help to add value to your investments.