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Can You Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Remote Work?

Can You Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Remote Work?

If your injury or illness arose out of your employment, you may be entitled to benefits.

Can You Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Remote Work?

In 2019, it is easier than ever before to work remotely. Technology has allowed employees across California to work from home, at a local coffee shop, or even while out of the country. Although working remotely isn’t a possibility for every job, it is often a nice perk for employees who can accomplish their work with little more than a laptop, phone and an internet connection.

Of course, there are benefits of remote work for employers, too. Allowing employees to work from home can reduce overhead expenses and boost morale. But there are some categories of expenses that employers simply can’t skimp on, no matter where their employees work from — and that includes workers’ compensation insurance.

California, like most states, has a no-fault system of workers’ compensation that is designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer injuries or develop illnesses while on the job. It is a type of insurance that employers pay into, and employees are able to receive benefits such as medical treatment and wages if they are hurt or become ill. An employee does not need to prove that the employer was at fault for their injury in order to access workers’ compensation benefits.

With the rise of remote work, many employees are questioning whether they are still covered by workers’ compensation. Federal law (under the Occupational Safety and Health Act) requires companies to provide employees with safe business environments. California law mandates that any company with one or more employee carry workers’ compensation insurance. As a California workers’ compensation lawyer can explain, there is no exception in either of these requirements for employees who work from home.

Under California’s labor code, employers are liable “for any injury sustained by his or her employees arising out of and in the course of the employment.” Under this law, an employee who is working at home is not treated any differently from one who is working at the main office or other place of business.

In one California workers’ compensation case, Warner v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board, the Court of Appeal found that the employer had to pay workers’ compensation benefits to an employee who was injured while working from home. The employee in question was a California firefighter who was required to be on duty 24 hours a day when he was on call, and regularly stayed at his house when on call because there was not room at the fire station. Local residents often went to his house to request assistance. The employee/firefighter was trimming the wisteria that led up to his home when he was injured. The Court found that he was entitled to benefits because his injury arose out of and in the course of his employment.

While not every injury suffered while working from home will qualify an employee for workers’ compensation benefits, you may be eligible for benefits in some situations if you are hurt or become ill while working remotely. An experienced California workers’ compensation lawyer can work with you to help you determine if you can file a claim.

The attorneys of PLBSH help clients throughout California who have suffered workplace injuries or illnesses. Contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled legal professionals.

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