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Are remote employees eligible for worker’s compensation in Pennsylvania if they are injured during work hours?

Worker’s compensation is no-fault insurance that employer are required to have under Pennsylvania law to cover the medical expenses and wage compensation when employees have work-related accidents. State law defines an employee, as a natural person who perform service for another for value or compensation. Remote employees do not work a traditional office environment or other form of stationary workplace set up by the employer. They perform their work duties outside of the workplace but still under the supervision and direction of their employers. If a remote employee is injured while in course of employment, even if it is at home, they are eligible for worker’s compensation for the resulting injury.

The hurdle for a remote employee’s worker’s compensation claim may be proving that she in course of employment or performing a work-related activity at the time of the accident. Individuals working remotely have more freedom to do other activities such as fixing food, going to the bathroom, ordering food while working in a coffee shop or restaurant . If they are injured during these activities it can bring into question whether are still “working.” However, under Pennsylvania personal comfort doctrine that a personal activity in the midst of the work hours is incidental to employment. Therefore, an accident during the work hours that occurs during a moment of personal comfort is still in the course of employment.

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