Advancing technologies, increasing health concerns and shifting perspectives and attitudes have all converged to create a virtual work movement that has been growing rapidly over the past years.
This increase in remote working opportunities may have many new teleworkers wondering if they are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage.
Injuries or illnesses sustained during your workday and caused by the scope of your employment are generally covered by workers’ compensation. Repetitive stress injuries from working at your computer all day or a back injury from moving work equipment can qualify for this employee benefit. Independent contractors and freelancers are not included, because they are not considered hired employees.
Even when you are not performing the tasks of your job in a company office you are still considered an employee of that company, with the same standards and benefits as on-site employees. With that said, you should be aware that some on-the-job injuries may be more difficult to receive workers’ compensation simply because they are harder to prove. Working alone in your home as opposed to surrounded by coworkers means there will likely be no witnesses to the incident in question.
As with most laws, there are exceptions to this. If an investigation of the accident shows that the conditions of your home plausibly led to your injury, you may not receive workers’ compensation. Performing the functions of your job while under the influence will also exempt you from qualification.
Workers’ compensation exists to benefit all employees, regardless of their duty station.