12.7% of full-time employees work from home in 2023, and 28.2% work a hybrid model.
While we’d love to believe that no worker could ever get injured at home, workplace injuries happen in home offices too. This is especially true of repetitive stress injuries, as some home workplaces aren’t ergonomic.
It’s important to know your rights while working remotely.
- Employers are required to provide workers’ compensation to remote workers too.
- You must prove the injury arose from the course of employment and not while conducting personal business around your home.
- Minor deviations from employment, such as taking a coffee break, do not necessarily prevent you from claiming workers’ compensation. A reasonable deviation will be a short-duration meal, coffee, or bathroom break.
- You must work at home. Checking your work email at home wouldn’t elevate your home to a place of employment, but working regular hours at your home does.
It’s also important to know how you can make it easier to prove a workers’ compensation claim.
- Work regular hours every day. If you can prove the injury happened during your regular working hours, it will be easier to show the injury arose from the course of employment. New York law assumes injuries at work during working hours are assumed to be work-related unless the insurance company can prove otherwise. They would have to prove you definitely are not working. This will be easier if you don’t maintain regular working hours.
- Designate a regular working area of your home. Set up your workstation there. Consider creating an ergonomic station.
- If you are an hourly employee, you should never engage in “off-the-clock” work. When you’re working, you should always be clocked in.
- If your employer has established a home safety checklist, has offered ergonomic equipment, and has established a telecommuting policy with guidelines for a home office, you should follow those guidelines to the letter. If you fail to do so, proving your injury was work-related may be harder.
In all other ways, a home workers’ compensation claim proceeds exactly like any other claim. You should report the injury to your employer and seek medical attention. If the injury is not an emergency, you should go to one of your employer’s approved providers. If it is, you should go to the ER.
If you are denied workers’ compensation benefits, you should reach out to lawyers like us. Schedule a free consultation to get started today.