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

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Pay-As-You-Go Workers’ Comp

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Safety Meetings and Workers Comp

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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"

Managing the HR and Payroll of your Remote Employees

Managing remote employees

We’re seven months into the pandemic and it’s very likely that you’ve made some permanent changes to how you hire and manage employees. Below are some of the highlights to focus on, it’s by no means everything but a good starting point. If you find yourself with questions feel free to contact us.

If your remote employees live in the state where your business is located, you must follow federal employment laws plus your state’s employment rules. But if your remote employees live in a different state from where you conduct business, you must comply with federal employment laws plus the labor laws for each state in which your employees reside. This applies to all areas of employment, including hiring, performance management, payroll and employee benefits.

Managing Hiring Policies

When hiring remote employees, you must consider all laws affecting the recruiting, interviewing and hiring processes. Among them are federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

Note that many states have their own anti-discrimination laws, and some jurisdictions prohibit employers from requesting that applicants disclose their salary history.

In addition, employers must conduct employment eligibility verification via Form I-9 and perform new hire reporting with the state.

Talent Management

Managing a remote team is considerably different from managing an on-site team. With remote employees, you cannot walk over to their desks to chat or have in-person meetings with them.

Without proper support, your remote team can easily become disengaged. And if you’re not careful, you could find yourself forgetting essential duties, such as tracking their time worked and staying abreast of PTO requests.

Below are suggestions for avoiding these pitfalls and attaining an engaged remote team:

  • Set clear expectations, upfront, with each team member.
  • Let them know whom to contact if they have questions. Have a system in place that promptly addresses their concerns.
  • Build a rapport with each team member. Encourage their input on matters affecting their work or the team.
  • Offer regular feedback via one-on-one meetings using Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or another video conferencing platform.
  • Help them fulfill their career goals by fairly evaluating their performance, developing action plans for improvement and rewarding high performance.
  • Utilize technology that simplifies timekeeping and leave of absence administration.

Managing Payroll and Benefits

Like on-site employees, remote employees are subject to federal and state payroll laws plus applicable employee benefits regulations. These laws relate to:

  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime
  • Exempt employees
  • Tax withholding
  • Paycheck deductions
  • Payday frequency
  • Final wages
  • Breaks and meal periods
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Paid and unpaid time off
  • Voluntary benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans
  • Record keeping

Overwhelmed with the idea of managing payroll and benefits during a pandemic or any other time. We can help when it comes to managing remote employees.

Health and Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has stated in the past that it does not perform inspections of employees’ home offices and that employers are generally not responsible for home-based safety issues. This is a gray area. Therefore, employers with remote employees should obtain legal advice regarding health and safety.

Other complex areas that may require legal counsel include when employees work both remotely and on-site, when employees work in a different country and when an employer terminates a remote employee. For more information about managing remote employees contact us or your trusted HR advisor.

Copyright 2022

Why Atlantic Payroll Partners

The biggest payroll companies probably won’t have time for your business. It’s that simple, you’ll be a number. At Atlantic Payroll Partners, you’ll be the opposite. We’ll know more than your name; we’ll know the names of your children and their birthday’s as well. We will know you.

We’ve been helping Florida business by managing their payroll and providing workers' compensation quotes for ten years. We help keep payroll cost affordable by provided transparent PEO payroll quotes that allow you to plan your budget accordingly. Like the big payroll companies, you can manage your payroll and payroll timekeeping with us, while reaping the benefits of PEO risk management.

Thinking about payroll outsourcing can be scary. Make sure you know what to expect from payroll outsourcing providers; to make the best decision for your business. In addition to offering payroll, and workers' comp quote we offer: Human Resource consultations, Accounting services, and benefits such as, 401ks and Healthcare plans.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are work programs that enable flexibility in work schedules or the place of work.

Flexible work arrangements are hugely popular among employees, mainly because they promote work-life balance.

FWAs are critical to retention, as research by FlexJobs shows that nearly one-third of workers have sought employment elsewhere because their employer failed to provide flexible work arrangements.

Some of the types of FWAs are:

  • Telecommuting.
  • Flextime.
  • Compressed workweek.
  • Part-time work or reduced work hours.
  • Job sharing.

 

1. Telecommuting

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, telecommuting “involves the use of computers and telecommunications technology to overcome the constraints of location or time on work.”

Telecommuting lets employees perform their normal job duties away from their central workplace — such as from home, a telework center or any other approved alternative worksite. Depending on the situation, employees may telecommute all or part of the workweek. Telecommuting can also be implemented on an emergency basis, such as during inclement weather, natural disasters,. and of course COVID-19.

2. Flextime

Flextime, also called a flexible work schedule, allows employees greater latitude in choosing their starting and ending work times. You might, for example, set a core number of hours the employee must work each week and then permit the employee to pick their arrival and departure times. Employees wanting to improve their work-life balance are most likely to appreciate flextime.

3. Compressed workweek

Employees on a compressed schedule perform their job duties in fewer days — such as four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. This results in longer time off from work, which facilitates work-life balance and allows the employee to save on certain expenses, such as commuting and child care costs.

Employers as well can benefit from fully adopting a compressed workweek schedule. For instance, overhead costs are less because employees are not on-site as much.

4. Part-time work or reduced work hours

Of all the flexible scheduling options, part-time work is the most commonplace. Employees who do not want to work a full-time schedule — for example, students, working parents and older workers — often seek part-time work, which is usually regarded as less than 35 hours per week. Certain jobs, such as those in the food service and retail sectors, are more naturally geared toward part-time employment than are others.

5. Job sharing

Job sharing occurs when two employees share the responsibilities of one full-time role, splitting the duties between them so each person works part time. For instance, you may require one employee to work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the other employee to work Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Employees looking to balance their professional and personal lives may especially be interested in job sharing. To avoid issues in the long run, job sharing must be carefully thought out, implemented and managed.

As the labor force continues to evolve, more and more flexible work arrangements are cropping up. Companies should think about which of these might help them adapt and thrive into the future. If you’d need help selecting a Flexible Work Arrangement for your team please reach out to us at, 772-466-0440 we’re happy to help.

Copyright 2022

Why Atlantic Payroll Partners

The biggest payroll companies probably won’t have time for your business. It’s that simple, you’ll be a number. At Atlantic Payroll Partners, you’ll be the opposite. We’ll know more than your name; we’ll know the names of your children and their birthday’s as well. We will know you.

We’ve been helping Florida business by managing their payroll and providing workers' compensation quotes for ten years. We help keep payroll cost affordable by provided transparent PEO payroll quotes that allow you to plan your budget accordingly. Like the big payroll companies, you can manage your payroll and payroll timekeeping with us, while reaping the benefits of PEO risk management.

Thinking about payroll outsourcing can be scary. Make sure you know what to expect from payroll outsourcing providers; to make the best decision for your business. In addition to offering payroll, and workers' comp quote we offer: Human Resource consultations, Accounting services, and benefits such as, 401ks and Healthcare plans.

Best tools for working from home

Are you online and working from home but unsure of the best tools for the “job”? From coast to coast, the authorities are urging everyone to stay at home and reduce contact with other people as much as possible. But if we’re imaginative with what we can find online, we can still keep in touch with each other.

Check out our list for the best tools for working from home:

Keeping in Touch

Most laptops have a built-in camera. If not, you can get a camera from Amazon for under $50 or even under $30. This is your gateway to turning your computer into a communications center.

Zoom. This video conference program is useful for family discussions and corporate meetings. At its simplest level, it’s free, and even its advanced versions are only $15 to $20 a month — and you can make group calls. With its intuitive controls, it’s a great way to stay in touch.

Skype. Everyone has heard of it, but we tend to forget how simple and powerful it is — as well as very inexpensive. All Skype-to-Skype calls are free. You can text or make video phone calls, and it works on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones as long as there’s an online connection.

Facebook. A lot of people dismiss Facebook as a waste of time, but it comes with a built-in video feature that’s free and easy to use. Just click on the camera icon in any friend’s profile and get going with local or even international calls.

Staying Entertained

Movies and plays are out, so you’ll have to get the most out of TV and streaming services. Fortunately, you have a lot of options. If you are telecommuting, these can keep the kids busy while you have to work. Most streaming services work on a computer or tablet, or, with a Roku or a similar device, you can stream directly to your TV.

Netflix. Plans run from $8.99 to $15.99 a month and include a wide range of movies, TV shows and documentaries. Considering the cost of a movie ticket today, it can be quite a bargain, especially if you have a family.

Hulu. It has thousands of shows and movies for plans starting at $5.99 a month. You can bundle with other services, like Disney+, for volume savings.

Amazon Prime. For $119 a year, you get a wide variety of benefits when ordering from Amazon, plus an array of movies to stream. Check the plans to find out what is offered and for any additional costs for certain services.

Working at Home

If you suddenly find yourself working at home, these are just a few of the apps that can help you be more effective.

SignRequest. At many companies, people continually have to sign off on various documents. Suddenly, with everyone at home, that’s a problem. For a modest fee, depending on how many documents you use, SignRequest lets you sign documents virtually. It says that it is very secure and that, in many instances, an electronic signature is as good as an in-person one. Also note that various versions of Adobe Acrobat may also allow signatures.

Mural. This program is designed to take the place of a whiteboard at your meetings. It describes itself as a “digital workspace for visual collaboration.” Although it says its users include IBM and E-Trade, it offers prices as low as $12 per person per month for small companies.

Slack. This well-known collaboration and teamwork program is very popular and definitely worth a look. It integrates neatly with Google Drive, Microsoft Office 360 and more. At its most basic level, which is good for small companies, it’s free.

Wrapping it up…

Finally, a word of caution: Be careful about what you download onto your computer. You could be inadvertently loading spyware onto your machine. Be sure any new software comes from or is recommended by a well-known source, such as a friend or colleague who has used it.

 

Copyright 2022

Why Atlantic Payroll Partners

The biggest payroll companies probably won’t have time for your business. It’s that simple, you’ll be a number. At Atlantic Payroll Partners, you’ll be the opposite. We’ll know more than your name; we’ll know the names of your children and their birthday’s as well. We will know you.

We’ve been helping Florida business by managing their payroll and providing workers' compensation quotes for ten years. We help keep payroll cost affordable by provided transparent PEO payroll quotes that allow you to plan your budget accordingly. Like the big payroll companies, you can manage your payroll and payroll timekeeping with us, while reaping the benefits of PEO risk management.

Thinking about payroll outsourcing can be scary. Make sure you know what to expect from payroll outsourcing providers; to make the best decision for your business. In addition to offering payroll, and workers' comp quote we offer: Human Resource consultations, Accounting services, and benefits such as, 401ks and Healthcare plans.