Working at Home

The workplace use to mean a specific site provided by the employer. This has changed significantly in the last ten years. Many Federal Agencies permit, or even encourage, flexible work arrangements.

The employee is specifically permitted to work from home. The Law is just catching up with the change in the concept of the “workplace”. I am a presenter in a panel discussion on “Workers’ Compensation for Telecommuters” at the American Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Midwinter Seminar and Conference.

In my opinion, an injury occurring at home during the time the employee is carrying out his/her assigned task is compensable. This would include, in my opinion, injuries occurring while taking personal comfort breaks. For example; if an injury occurs during a coffee break, this would be compensable. If the employee went outside for a cigarette break, this would be compensable. The personal comfort doctrine should apply the same as if the employee was in a Government building.

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