What Telecommuters Need to Know About Workers Compensation
With advances in technology, telecommuting is a growing option for many workers, especially those who work on computers. Telecommuting can save workers money on gas, parking, clothes, lunch, and other work-related expenses. Employers are finding that allowing workers to telecommute a day or more each week can help boost their employees' morale, family life, and even health (less time on the road is a good stress reducer).
Telecommuters are still company employees (unless they are independent contractors) and therefore are covered by workers compensation insurance. This benefit provides employees with payments for disability and medical bills, for example, if they are injured on the job.
Although most telecommuters work from home, employers must make sure their home environment is safe and will not subject an employee to unhealthy conditions. This is especially true with a computer work station. An inadequate chair or keyboard can result in repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Health and safety in the workplace is a major concern for everyone, and it is incumbent upon employer and employee to seek both in all situations. Since a telecommuting employee is out of sight, how can a company track the time the employee is on the clock? This can become an issue when a workers compensation claim arises and there are questions about when the injury occurred. Some employers require their telecommuters to log in, which provides a way to track their time at work. Employers must make sure an employee understands the guidelines that will govern this opportunity to telecommute.
Injuries Still Happen
Even with proper planning, an injury can occur while telecommuting. An attorney who specializes in workers compensation can provide guidance for employees when considering filing a claim. It is important for employees to know which questions to ask when hiring a worker comp lawyer.