The start of the 20’s saw the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the ‘new normal’. Some workers were forced to work from home per government direction, whilst other workplaces offered flexible work arrangements.
Two years on from the start of the pandemic and it appears the ‘new normal’ may be here to stay, or at least workplace flexibility may be an ongoing option for some workplaces.
If you’ve been injured or become ill at work you may be entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation to cover lost wages, medical and rehabilitation costs, retraining expenses or a lump sum payment for permanent injuries. These entitlements still exist even if you are working from home.
There have been a lot of changes to arrangements in NSW for seeking workers’ compensation in recent years. Workers’ compensation laws and entitlements are already a little hard to keep up with because they vary between states and territories and may be known as WorkCover, CTP or WorkSafe. Compensation and benefits can vary greatly depending on your injury and on the law you’re covered by. Add in the new phenomenon of ‘WFH’, and you could be forgiven for not quite knowing where to start.
The basics of workers compensation claims have not changed. To be eligible, the following must occur:
- your injury needs to arise out of or in the course of your employment, and
- your employment needs to be a substantial contributing factor to your injury (or main contributing factor if disease related conditions).
Is my home a ‘place of employment’?
The question of whether the home falls within the ‘place of employment’ definition has not yet been determined by the Personal Injury Commission or Courts. However, it is already established that a worker’s course of employment can extend beyond a worker’s normal hours and normal place of work. Therefore, it can be inferred that a home would be considered a place of employment so long as this is also an acceptable place to work as determined by your employer and you are able to perform your work duties from home. For example – an office worker probably spent various periods of time working from home over the past few years. However, it is unlikely that a supermarket attendant is able to justify working from home as their employment revolves around a particular work environment (the supermarket).
Workers’ compensation claims relating to injuries sustained while working at home will likely start emerging. If you’ve been injured at work or while working from home and you’re unsure if the circumstances of your injury will be covered by worker’s compensation, you should obtain legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity – as you would if you were injured in your employer’s workplace.
If your workers’ compensation claim has been rejected, or you would like to understand how to claim benefits to support you and your family while you are injured or ill, please get in touch with our office.
We remind you of our previous article titled ‘Time is of the essence … especially when it relates to a work injury’ which discusses the strict time limits when navigating the workers compensation system.
We hope that you are able to follow our tips to understand your workers compensation entitlements when working from home. If you have a query relating to any of the information in this article, or you require advice about your own matter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Compensation Team of Brazel Moore Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699.
Please note that this information is intended to provide general guidance only. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your individual circumstances. For further information, please contact Littles.