Workers’ Compensation and Home-Based Workers
January 28, 2019
The need for employees to physically report to the office continues to dwindle as technology continues to improve. More and more people are working from home these days and it is reflected in job ads and job descriptions posted online. The more often employees work from home, even for part-time jobs, the less employers need to pay in insurance rates and utilities (less overhead). Many employers now offer flexible scheduling for their employees who wish to work from home a couple days per week. Other employers have sold their brick-and-mortar locations and gone entirely remote. But, one question begs to be answered, what happens if a home-based employee gets hurt on the job?
What is the Definition of Work Starting?
To answer the question posed above we must first take a look at the definition of work starting. If an employee is going to be away from their physical place of employment (the office), then work begins when the employee performs any duty or activity that has been assigned by a supervisor or has been deemed to be part of the employee’s scope of employment. So, if an employee is out running an errand during normal work hours and suffers an injury, but is not performing duties pertaining to their employment, they likely will not be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
What Happens with a Remote Employee?
With the definition of work starting explained you are likely wondering what happens when a remote employee suffers an injury on the job away from the office. For starters, the employee will need to show in the workers’ compensation claim that he or she was performing a duty or other activity directly related to their scope of employment when they suffered the injury and not simply running a personal errand or doing chores around the house.
Working on Company Vehicles at Home
If an employee works remotely, or is constantly on the road, it’s likely he or she is issued a company vehicle. If the employee is allowed to take the company vehicle home with them, it’s possible that they might spend time cleaning the vehicle either inside or out. If the employee winds up suffering an injury while cleaning their work vehicle away from the office it’s possible that the injury could be covered by workers’ compensation.
How Do Employers Avoid Remote Issues?
Employers are creating more detailed job descriptions with the hiring of every new employee who might be given permission to work remotely, or who is being hired solely to work on a remote basis. These job descriptions make it explicitly clear as to what the employee’s scope of work will entail during the course of business operations, making it much harder for the employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered at home performing duties not pertaining to their employment. These job descriptions might even go as far as outlining which job duties can be performed remotely and which ones must be performed in the office.
Contact an Erie Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Workplace Injury Case
A workplace injury can be devastating, particularly if it prevents you from returning to work for an extended period of time. Although Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation laws are supposed to provide you with reimbursement for medical expenses and replacement pay for missed time at work, it is not always easy to get the Workers’ Comp benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients in Erie, Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, Meadville and all across PA. Call 814-273-2010 or email us today to schedule a free consultation about your work injury case. Our main office is located at 310 Chestnut St, Suite 111 Meadville, PA 16335 and we also have offices in North East and Erie, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.