Due to the digital age, more and more employees are working from home. While providing employees the opportunity to work from home is a perk many companies are starting to offer, there are still potential liabilities that employers should be aware of.
Are remote workers covered by workers compensation insurance?
The injury or illness of an employee is covered by workers compensation insurance as long as the incident occurs due to and during the course of employment. This is true no matter where the illness or injury occurs. However, employees often have to be able to prove that the injury or illness in question is work-related. Employees need to be able to show that their actions were in the interest of the employer when the incident occurred, but in many cases, the employee will be the only witness to an accident that occurs at home.
Just as they are responsible for providing a safe work environment for employees who work in the corporate office employers, are also responsible for providing employees who telecommute with a safe work environment. Requiring an employee to complete a working-from-home survey regarding the safety of their in-home workspace might be something to consider before the employee begins working from home. This survey will give them the opportunity to report the condition of their office space, and allows the employer to determine if the space follows current company safety guidelines. Once the survey is complete and approved, have the employee send in a photo of the space and keep this for your records. Asking the employee resubmit a photo every few months can help ensure they are still following safety guidelines.
What additional coverage is needed if you allow employees to work from home?
Aside from covering your responsibility to provide a safe workspace, many other risks exist. Before allowing employees to work from home you could also do the follow to ensure you and your employees are protected:
- Make sure your employees homeowner's policy is up to date
- Provide your employees with equipment that was inspected/set up by an IT Professional
- Put a telecommuting policy in place for employees to follow
- Review your current business insurance coverage/policies
Due to the amount of potential risk beyond what workers compensation covers, it is important to make sure your business policies provide any additional coverage necessary. Contact us today at 201-664-2973 to discuss the risk work-from-home employees may expose your company to and let us make sure you are taking the right steps to ensure you are covered!