Remote Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Remote Employees

The vast majority of states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which helps pay lost wages, medical expenses and rehabilitation costs for employees who are injured while doing a work-related activity. Workers’ compensation also helps cover funeral expenses for employees who suffer a work-related fatality. In some cases, it provides death benefits to eligible surviving family members.

Workers’ compensation is commonly provided to on-site employees. But with the explosion of remote work, whether remote employees are eligible for workers’ compensation is a pressing concern for many employers.

Are remote employees covered?

If the state requires the employer to provide workers’ compensation, then the short answer is yes, employees are covered by workers’ compensation if the injury or illness “arises out of employment” and happens “in the course of employment.” This is true regardless of whether the employee was working on-site or remotely when the accident occurred.

The Cornell Law School website offers the following definitions:

  • An accident “arises out of” employment when the employment was the cause of the accident that resulted in the injury.
  • If an accident occurs “in the course of employment,” it occurs within the period of employment, at a place where the employee reasonably may be in the performance of the employee’s duties and while the employee is fulfilling the employee’s duties or is engaged in something incidental thereto. “In the course of” is a broader term than “arises out of.”

Usually, the onus is on the injured employee to prove that they were acting in the interest of their employer when they suffered the injury.

What about employees who work from home?

There are many gray areas when it comes to health and safety for home-based employees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, courts have ruled that it does not matter that the employer has no control over the employee’s home environment. If the evidence indicates that the injury is work related, then the injured employee is entitled to workers’ compensation.

For example, in the case of Munson v. Wilmar/Interline Brands, the employee, Gary Munson, was performing a task required by his employer when he suffered an injury. Per the court documents, while working from home, as required by his employer, Munson “was injured while descending stairs to get a cup of coffee.”

The court recognized that it can be difficult to determine liability for remote employees who are injured at home. However, based on the specific circumstances of the case, the court found that Munson’s claim was compensable under the “personal comfort doctrine.”

Employers with home-based employees can reduce workers’ compensation claims by developing a remote-work policy that clearly states the employer’s expectations for home-based employees. They can also offer safety measures and training to employees who work from home.

SHRM advises remote-work employers to establish fixed work hours and meal and rest breaks, as this can help determine whether an injury happened “in the course of employment.” Because this can be a complicated topic, you should get qualified professional advice on your situation.

Copyright 2022

Payroll Time Clocks Help Prevent Errors

Payroll Time Clocks Help Prevent Errors Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to maintain updated records of the hours worked by nonexempt employees. According to the FLSA, employers are also expected to pay nonexempt employees for all the hours...

Pay-As-You-Go Workers’ Comp

Pay-As-You-Go Workers’ Comp Insurance Pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance is designed to smooth out the premium changes that occur during the year as employees come and go. Premium payments are made at the end of each payroll cycle and are based...

Do you need critical illness insurance?

Critical illness insurance is a type of supplemental insurance that is designed to help with the cost of treating certain serious illnesses. These illnesses typically require expensive medical treatment and procedures that may not be covered under a standard or...

Safety Meetings and Workers Comp

Safety meetings and workers’ comp go hand in hand. To make sure you are aligned with OSHA rules, keep an eye on training. Note that these requirements will vary by company. While the requirements may be extensive for one company, they may be minimal for another....

Ways to Prepare New Hires for Success

3 Ways To Prepare Your New Hires for Success A 2019 report by the Work Institute found that 43% of new hires quit within 90 days of employment, often for reasons that could have been prevented by the employer. When the organization surveyed 37,000 people who had left...

Taxes… when you have employees

Taxes, when you have employees Once you have at least one person working for your business, you’re an employer. Being an employer comes with a wide range of responsibilities, including withholding, depositing and paying employment taxes. How can you make sure...

Get to know Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a Professional Employment Organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer,

Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits, and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. 

"Work Less, Fish More"