Distant Work and Eligibility for Staff’ Compensation

It is important to have a means by which you can monitor your work, even when you are working remotely. Things like time tracking software, set working hours, and a dedicated work area.

With hundreds of thousands of workers forced to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of problems will arise. One of the most prominent concerns is whether remote workers are still covered by their workers’ compensation payments. Most people understand the basic fundamentals of an employee compensation benefit as follows:

  1. The applicant must be an employee
  2. The violation must have occurred while performing the service

An employee compensation claim can only be taken into account if these two basic conditions are met. This begs the question of whether remote workers are entitled to compensation even if they work remotely.

The short answer is yes, even if most employees work remotely, they are assumed to be acting in the best interests of their employer and are placed at home based on their employment. The above conditions can also be met when an employee performs remote work.


Laws vary between states. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, any injury sustained off the employer’s premises but by an employee who actually promotes the employer’s affairs is an accident at work and is therefore covered. Even if an employee works from their own office or even from their couch, they are protected by the Workers’ Compensation Act as long as they perform duties that advance the employer’s affairs.

An example of this is the case of Verizon Pennsylvania v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Alston), 900 A.2s 440 (Pa. Cmmw.Ct. 2006), in which the claimant injured his neck while falling down a flight of stairs with hers Calling supervisors.

Man is sitting at the desk with his hands clasped behind his head; Image by Jason Strull via Unsplash.com.

The court ruled that even if the applicant was on a break and away from his home office, the applicant was engaged in the course and scope of the employer’s business when the injury was suffered.

Conversely, in the case of Werner v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (Greenleaf Services), 28 A.3rd 245 (Pa. Cmmw.Ct. 2011), it was found that an employee no longer reacted in his home office. The court found that the home office was not used exclusively for business purposes and therefore could not determine whether the violation occurred while performing work-related tasks. In this case, it was stressed that it was the applicant’s duty to prove that the injury suffered was in fact a work-related injury.

This is not intended to deprive workers of the opportunity to ensure full and fair compensation, but also to protect employers from claims for compensation made by false workers, especially given the fact that they could cost an employer thousands of dollars.

It is important to have a means by which you can monitor your work, even when you are working remotely. Things like time tracking software, set working hours, and a designated work area will help your compensation attorney bring your claim, especially when it’s difficult to tell how much longer we’ll have to adhere to a remote work setup.

Comments are closed.