Do Workers’ Compensation Claims Cover Injuries while working remotely?

Workers’ compensation benefits are traditionally associated with workplaces—offices, warehouses, restaurants, and the like. And while workers’ compensation claims haven’t changed for essential workers who have continued to work on site, the growing number of people working from home or working remotely has raised critical questions about whether workers who are injured while working remotely are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Before the pandemic and the rise in working remotely, there was no question that an employee who was injured at work would be covered. For example, if an employee fell in a hallway while carrying a box of documents to a coworker, he would certainly be protected. But if the same scenario were to play out at home, where the employee slips while doing something work related, would he be covered there? The short answer is that it depends on a range of issues, including whether the employee was doing something that the employer requested or whether she was doing something house related but during work hours. There is not a lot of case law on this topic yet, but one thing for certain is that the employee carries the burden to prove she was doing something work-related.  

This article provides some useful information about how workers’ compensation benefits may protect workers who are working remotely or from home and it analyzes briefly what has happened in Pennsylvania. Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state, so if you have a question about whether an injury you’ve sustained at work may be covered, you should talk to a workers’ compensation attorney.