Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, remote work has become a much more common practice than we’ve ever seen. If your business is conducive to remote work, you have a lot of extra concerns to figure out to ensure proper care for your different types of employees.
Whether your whole team works from home, or you have a mix of both, it’s important to understand workers’ comp for remote employees. Knowing if you need coverage for your remote workers, how the claims work, and how to protect your business will give you added peace of mind when your employees are working virtually.
Almost every state in the country requires a business to provide workers’ comp insurance for all workers, including remote workers. Even though they aren’t working in the office or on the job site, they are still employed by your company. Therefore, they’re included.
Workers’ comp insurance is meant to cover an injury that occurs while an employee is on the clock. If an employee gets hurt doing work during their shift, they may have a valid workers’ comp claim – even if the incident occurred at home. That’s why workers’ comp insurance should cover all of your employees.
As an employer, the idea of workers’ comp covering your remote employees may be confusing. After all, you can’t keep an eye on what they’re doing while they work, so you have little control over the safety of their workplace. Plus, there’s a large chance there will be no witnesses around when a remote employee gets injured.
Your state may interpret these claims differently, but most states use the personal comfort doctrine. This declares that your employees should be covered by their workers’ comp benefits when doing things like going to the bathroom or getting a drink of water while working.
However, if your remote worker gets injured while on the clock, it doesn't mean it’s automatically a valid workers’ comp claim. The circumstances surrounding the injury will be the determining factor.
For example, if an employee sprains her wrist when she trips over her cat, that’s not a valid claim. Even though the injury happened while she was on the clock, a court will likely rule that the cat-related injury had nothing to do with her work. If she were in the office, there would be no risk of that injury.
If all this seems confusing, don’t fret. Your insurance company and the courts will make that decision for you. As an employer, you need to make sure your employees know what to do if they get injured on the job. Asking for a quick report so you can submit it to your insurance company will help cover all the bases.
As with on-site work injuries, it’s up to the employee to prove that their injury is work-related through documents, medical attention, and witnesses. They will only have a claim if it’s determined that it was work-related.
This means you don’t have to worry about your employees trying to file a claim when they get injured mowing the lawn or cleaning out the gutters. You won’t be responsible for an injury like that.
As with workers’ comp insurance for your in-house employees, you, as the employer, are responsible for paying for coverage for your remote employees. The payroll paid to these employees will included with the rest of your payroll, which determines the premium you pay.
The case is the same regardless of where your remote employees reside. If they live down the street or in a different state, you should be paying for them to be included in your company’s workers’ comp insurance.
You likely have safety programs in place for your on-site employees. This helps prevent workplace injuries, which will keep your Ex-Mod factor low and, in turn, your premiums lower as well. You may think you have no control over keeping remote workers safe, but that isn’t the case.
There are some steps you can take to incorporate home safety measures that will lower the chances of a remote worker having a workers’ comp claim to file. Let’s look at some of them now.
Having a policy in play for telecommuting can help lay out the expectations for remote workers. This policy should be as important as your dress code, vacation requests, and other common policies.
A proper telecommuting policy will do the following:
Remote workers have the luxury of being able to work from anywhere. However, some employees may try to take advantage of that fact. To ensure that your employees are productive and safe while on the clock, ask them to sign an agreement that outlines the type of environment they should be working in.
Consider having your employees agree to do the following:
You should also provide guidelines for what their workspace should include. A proper workplace should be equipped with the following:
Your employees should enjoy some flexibility, but the majority of their work should be done in this workspace. This will lower the chances of a work-related injury.
Just like you ensure your worksites follow OSHA requirements for safety, you should provide remote employees with a list of safety precautions they should take at home.
Make sure your remote safety checklists include the following:
Taking these steps helps everyone. Providing your remote employees with the information needed to be safe while working will ensure they can perform their jobs at home. While it’s hard to create a proper work environment outside of the office or job site, the guidance will get them started.
These guidelines will also help you as the employer. Keeping your remote employees safe will give you peace of mind that your employees are following company policies, even if you can’t see them. This will lower the chances of workers’ comp claims, keeping your insurance premiums low. It’s truly a win-win.
It’s important to make sure your insurance policies are set up to protect you in the case of a remote worker’s injury. Ensure that your workers’ comp insurance policy is accurate to provide peace of mind in the event of a remote worker’s injury. However, you should also see if there are other insurance policies you should include, as well.
Most Workers Comp policies include a coverage called employer's liability insurance (EL) in addition to workers’ compensation.
Employer’s liability insurance comes into play when an employee sues their employer, stating that the employer’s negligence caused their workplace injury. When dealing with remote employees, there’s the added burden of a lack of witnesses. Having the added protection of EL can give you peace of mind in these cases.
Workers’ comp covers the following:
On the other hand, the employer’s liability insurance will cover the following:
Work with your insurance agent to make sure you have a full workers’ comp package that includes both types of insurance. This will ensure your company is protected in the case of a remote employee workers’ comp claim.
Here at Kickstand Insurance, we have plenty of experience providing workers’ comp insurance to employers in various industries. Whether your team is fully remote, hybrid, or a combination, we can help get you the policy that works for you.
All you need to do is get your instant quote, and our underwriting team will send you a final policy within 48 hours, ensuring you get coverage quickly. Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
You’re doing your part to ensure that your remote workers are doing their job in a safe, work-conducive environment. Let us handle the rest and give you peace of mind that your business will be covered in the event of a remote employee’s workers’ comp claim.
With Kickstand Insurance, you’ll have a better understanding and less worry about your remote workers.