April 2, 2020

I am not sure if the question is relevant to the topic today, but I was wondering about the case of workers’ compensation. As of today, due to the issue of the coronavirus, many employees are mandated to work from home. If they are injured while working, even if it was at home, is the company still liable?

As discussed during the webinar, workers’ compensation is generally not applicable to independent contractors. Many contracting companies require that contracting ICs provide proof of occupational accident insurance coverage—this coverage provides a “similar” type of coverage for contingent workers and, as a result, can extend protection to the contracting company by providing an avenue of relief for the IC in the event of a work-related injury. Most occupational accident coverages will not include coverages for communicable diseases such as COVID-19 or seasonal flu—mainly because it is nearly impossible to definitively prove where the virus was contracted. Workers’ compensation rules related to work-from-home practices do not generally differ from working at the office if the employee is required to be working from home, but this is a question for your employment counsel.