Remote work has become increasingly prevalent. This is true in California where many individuals have the flexibility to work from the comfort of their homes and other settings. For example, look at survey results from the Public Policy Institute of California. Fourteen percent of Californians say they work remotely all of the time, while 21% have some sort of hybrid arrangement.
However, when it comes to workers’ compensation, questions arise about whether remote employees in California are eligible for such benefits.
Workers’ compensation typically covers injuries that occur in the course of employment. For remote workers in California, the key factor is establishing a direct connection between the injury and the job responsibilities. If an injury happens while performing work-related tasks, even outside the traditional office setting, it may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Home as the new workplace
Remote work blurs the boundaries between the traditional office space and home. In California, the courts recognize the changing nature of work environments and acknowledge that injuries can occur in the home workspace. However, proving the direct connection to work-related activities remains necessary.
Workers’ compensation generally covers injuries someone gets during work hours while performing job duties. If a remote worker becomes hurt during a scheduled break, coverage might apply. However, injuries from activities unrelated to work, such as personal breaks or engaging in nonwork-related tasks, may not qualify for workers’ compensation.
Reporting and documenting
For remote employees seeking workers’ compensation in California, timely reporting and accurate documentation are necessary. Reporting the injury to the employer as soon as possible is a fundamental step. Providing detailed information about the incident and seeking medical attention promptly helps establish a clear connection between the injury and work-related activities.
Despite the recognition of remote work injuries, challenges may arise in proving the connection between the injury and work. Employers and insurance providers may scrutinize claims more closely in remote work scenarios.
Remote employees in California can be eligible for workers’ compensation. The process does require a clear connection between the injury and work-related activities.