Telecommuting and Workers’ Compensation in Denver
Nov. 13, 2015
In 2015, Colorado became the state with the largest number of full-time telecommuting employees. Telecommuting means an employee works from home or offsite via the internet. At just under 7%, more and more people in the Denver area are working remotely. It makes sense; there are much lower costs for both the employee and employer and a good deal of work today can be done as long as the employee has a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. But what if you get hurt while working remotely? Workers’ compensation in Denver gets complicated when it comes to telecommuting for your job. Sometimes these are full time employees, while other times it is a working a few hours a week due to personal reasons.
The rise in telecommuting can be attributed to lower overhead costs for employers and the rise of remote access technology, and is a way to recruit and retain employees. Telecommuting can also improve an employee’s quality of life; not having to commute provides a better life-balance. Unfortunately telecommuting has negative aspects. The cons, however, lie within the confusion and ambiguity revolving around the eligibility for telecommuters and their workers’ compensation benefits. Since the workforce is currently small and in the early stages of gaining in popularity, if the eligibility isn’t clearly spelled out in the terms of employment, a complicated legal struggle might ensue.Telecommuting Employee Work Parameters: Employers that have telecommuting employees must take extra measures setting clear, well-defined work-parameters. For all workplace injury claims there is one question, “Did the injury arise out of, and in the course of, employment?” This question applies to all workplaces, which is why telecommuting can complicate workers' compensation claims. If the injured employee was granted permission to telecommute and was injured while performing work duties, they may be covered under their employer’s workers' compensation policy. It is extremely important to establish the exact physical location of where the injury occurred.
Where did the injury occur? There are several questions that need to be answered when a workers' compensation claim is filed from a telecommuting employee.
Did the injury take place during the defined working hours?
Did the injury take place in a location the employer would expect their employee to be working?
Did the injury occur during an activity that the employer would expect?
Was the activity that injured the employee an expected activity the employee would engage in?
The answers to these questions will influence the outcome of the workers' compensation claim. If the injury occurred during a break during defined work hours, the employee should be covered by workers' compensation.
Understanding the law when it comes to being hurt while telecommuting can be confusing and difficult. Mark A. Simon has been an advocate for the injured worker for over 22 years. We help victims recover wages, get quality medical care, and help those injured on the job understand and move forward on issues like workers’ compensation. Call if you’ve been injured while working remotely for your job.