Guest Post by Craig Shapiro, Vice President, Product & Underwriting for Cerity

In light of Covid-19, most of us are working from home, and one of the top questions we’ve been hearing from our policyholders is: Do I need comp insurance for remote workers? The short answer is yes.

Remote and telecommuting workers are typically covered under workers’ compensation laws if the injury arises out of and in the course of employment. In other words, regardless of the location where the incident occurs, if the worker is injured while completing a work task during work hours, then their injury or illness is compensable under workers’ comp insurance.

While employing remote working is essential these days, it also comes with its own set of legal implications and issues as well as potential liabilities. Just because an employee works from home or another location doesn’t mean that they aren’t entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when applicable. If you currently have remote workers or you are planning on hiring more remote team members in the future, it is important that you understand the ins and outs of workers’ comp insurance for remote workers.

The remote employee typically has the burden of proof in providing evidence that the injury is work related. That means that in order to successfully claim workers’ comp benefits, remote workers have to show that they were acting in the interest of their employer at the time they were injured.

While the employer does not have control over the conditions of an employee’s home-based work environment, the courts have found that this is not a sufficient reason to deny workers’ comp benefits. They often interpret the hazards present in an employee’s home workspace as hazards of their employment. For this reason, employers are responsible for providing the same safe work environment for those who work remotely as they would for employees who work on-site.

One of the best ways to provide a safer work environment for remote employees is to find ways to prevent common office injuries. This often involves developing processes that limit hazards while also providing support to remote workers in how to set up and maintain a healthy and safe work environment in their home workspace.

Craig Shapiro is Vice President, Product & Underwriting for Cerity, a workers’ compensation insurance provider.