The Utah Court of Appeals recently determined that home-based workers are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits as workers in offices. The decision emphasizes the telecommuting trend and ties in with OSHA’s recent attention to the subject.
The National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), an insurance trade association whose members write almost 10 percent of the Utah w/c market, said the decision in the recent Utah case significantly expands the kinds of exposures for which the employer will be responsible.
According to Nancy M. Schroeder, assistant vice president of w/c for NAII, the Utah decision and others like it will create impediments to telecommuting. Employers will be concerned about assuming responsibility for potentially unsafe conditions that are strictly related to the employee’s home.
Additionally, the traditional w/c rules governing when an injury is covered will require reconsideration in the context of telecommuters to determine if they still make sense in situations where the employee and not the employer has total control of the environment.
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