The question of whether remote employees are covered by workers’ compensation depends on various factors, including the jurisdiction and specific circumstances of the remote work arrangement.
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. If a worker is generally covered by workers’ comp insurance, it ordinarily doesn’t matter where they are when they suffer injuries. As long as their harm is work-related, it will likely render them eligible for benefits.
A uniquely complicated challenge
With that said, the application of these laws to remote employees can be complex. These are some key considerations that workers need to be aware of when preparing to file a claim concerning harm sustained remotely:
- Work-relatedness: To be eligible for workers’ compensation, an injury or illness must arise out of and in the course of employment. For remote employees, determining whether an injury is work-related can be more challenging compared to those working at a traditional worksite. Factors such as the specific activities being performed, the time and location of the injury and the connection to work duties are taken into account and may be scrutinized specifically by workers’ comp claims adjusters.
- Employer policies and agreements: Employers may establish policies or agreements addressing workers’ compensation coverage for remote employees. These policies may clarify the scope of coverage, outline reporting procedures and define expectations for remote work arrangements. It’s important for remote employees to be aware of their employer’s policies and agreements regarding workers’ compensation, as they can affect the strength of a claim.
- Documentation and reporting: Remote employees should promptly report any work-related injuries or illnesses to their employer, following established procedures. Proper documentation of the incident and timely reporting can help support a workers’ compensation claim and failure to report in a timely manner can harm it.
Given the complexity of workers’ compensation laws and the unique nature of remote work, it is advisable for employers and remote employees to seek legal guidance to better ensure a clear understanding of coverage and rights. This can help remote employees navigate the workers’ compensation process, which can be uniquely complex when harm occurs remotely.