Several organizations have identified American workers’ preference to work a job with some telework, but this arrangement can lead to complications. Employers benefit from such arrangements by having to pay less overhead to support the practice and having improved employee morale. Employees value the flexibility and added time by not having to commute to work. According to Global Workplace Analytics, approximately 25 percent of the workforce teleworks at some frequency but many more would like similar arrangements. When workers are injured while not at the actual job site, they may be confused about their rights and whether such an injury is covered.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to workers who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses. They are entitled to benefits even if they cannot prove that the employer was responsible for the actual accident that led to injury.
Employees that sustain injuries that arise out of and in the course of employment are covered by workers’ compensation. As such, injuries that result in whole or in part from the employee’s work are generally compensable. An employee does not have to be on site to be covered.
Injuries in Other Locations
Injuries that workers sustain outside the usual workplace are often still covered by workers’ compensation claims so long as the worker is acting in the course and scope of employment. If the worker is performing his or her job duties such as driving to visit a client upon the employer’s instruction, the employee’s motor vehicle accident injury can be compensable. However, commuting to and from the workplace is not considered performing duties in the course of employment. So if an employee is injured while commuting to work, the injury is likely not compensable. Likewise, if the employee is taking a rest or meal break and is injured at this point, such injury likely is not compensable.
A telecommuter is covered for accidents and injuries that are work-related. For example, if he or she is injured while answering a work call or using a fax machine in a home office for business purposes, the injury is covered. If the injury occurs while the telecommuter is performing personal business such as getting a cup of coffee from the kitchen, the resulting injury is not compensable. A Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can review a case and assess its merits.