Australia is seeing increasing numbers of flexible work arrangements where you might work some of the days during the week from home. What happens if you hurt yourself while working from home? Are you able to claim workers’ compensation?
The answer is yes…maybe. Let’s explore.
You will be entitled to claim for workers’ compensation benefits if:
- you are a worker within the meaning of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, including contractors in some situations;
- you sustain injury during the course of work;
- the injury occurred in Queensland or the location of employment is within Queensland; and
- you are a subcontractor and own a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
When you are working from home you will inevitably do something that you would not normally do at your workplace. If you were at your workplace you would probably go to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, but would you go to the clothesline to hang out washing?
The relevant question is whether your injury is sustained during the course of work.
Some real world examples show that you might be able to claim workers’ compensation if:
- you are walking up or down stairs;
- carrying heavy items needed for work, like a box of files; or
- driving between the work office and home office.
Employers owe a duty of care to their employees whether that is in the workplace or at their home if they have an arrangement to work from home. To help meet this duty it would be advisable for the employer to undertake an inspection of their employees home environment to ensure it is safe for work duties, and employees should report any health and safety concerns.
If you do suffer an injury it is important to lodge an application early. An application for compensation is valid and enforceable only if you lodge the application within 6 months after the entitlement to compensation arises (unless special circumstances arose to the satisfaction of WorkCover that prevented you from making the application within 6 months).
If an application is lodged more than 20 business days after the entitlement to compensation arises, the extent of WorkCover’s liability to pay compensation is limited to a period starting no earlier than 20 business days before the day on which the valid application is lodged.
For more information about WorkCover claims read our other articles available on our website or call one of our injury lawyers on 1300 285 888.