The world of workplaces is changing rapidly. The rise of “the gig economy” and flexible working arrangements means an increasing number of employees are now working from home, with modern technology making it easier than ever. While this is probably not news to most, you may not have considered what happens if you’re injured on the job but working from home. Can you still claim compensation from your employer?
What happens if I’m injured working from home?
In 2011, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled that Telstra had to pay the medical and legal costs of an employee injured while working from home. The employee named Dale Hargreaves claimed she slipped down the stairs twice in the space of two months while undertaking work from her Brisbane home.
While Telstra denied liability due to Ms. Hargreaves remote working location, the Tribunal ruled both falls occurred during her employment with Telstra. During one fall, she was still logged into the Telstra workstation and only left her computer to get cough medicine, which the Tribunal deemed similar to any employee taking a break at work.
If you’ve been injured while working from home, the outcome of your claim will depend on whether the justice system deems that your injuries occurred in the course of work.
Does my employer have any obligations?
Employers have a duty of care when it comes to their workers undertaking their tasks from home. The Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 says that employees working from home are still covered when injury occurs.
Employers must take reasonable steps to ensure employee’s safety, including making sure an employee’s home area meets workplace health and safety requirements and completing a risk assessment. An employer should also provide a working from home policy which clearly states when the employer will inspect the home environment and when the employees should report potential health and safety issues.
Employees also have a responsibility to look after their own safety. They should designate a work area that family and other members of the public aren’t allowed to enter during their hours of employment.
What about freelancers?
Freelancers and contractors are not covered by an employer’s worker’s compensation policy in Australia. If they wish to be entitled to the benefits of worker’s compensation they must take out their own insurance policy.
If you’ve been injured while working from home, Shine Lawyers can help. Our worker’s compensation lawyers can help you secure the compensation you’re entitled to. To find out if you’re eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, contact Shine Lawyers and speak to one of our legal experts today.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 5, 2019.