The 21st century has seen an increase in the use of flexible working arrangements and alternate employment settings, which can involve the home. However are employees covered by workers compensation if they are working from home and there are no other employees or witnesses to vouch for their activities and potential injuries, and how far does it extend?
A recent decision made by Senior Arbitrator McDonald in the Workers Compensation Commission on 18 January of this year touched on this issue. The case involved a couple who ran a financial advice company from their home. In June 2010 the female partner died at home as the result of injuries inflicted by her partner, who was not found guilty of murder due to mental illness. The deceased was killed on her bed and wearing pyjamas. The deceased had two sons and so a workers compensation death benefit claim was lodged on behalf of the sons.
The issues were whether her injuries were inflicted during the course of her employment and if the injury related to her employment. The time of death was not known therefore the Arbitrator was unable to conclude that the injuries were suffered during the course of her employment. The Arbitrator determined her employment was not related to the injury and instead the delusions experienced by her partner caused her injury and led to her death. No compensation was awarded to her two sons. The decision is subject to appeal, however the case highlights some of the important factual issues the Arbitrator will look to in deciding whether employment is relevant to the injury sustained while at home.
We have two WIRO (Workers Compensation Independent Review Office) approved solicitors which means if you have a viable workers compensation claim it will not cost you anything to dispute the decision of the insurance company. If you have suffered an injury while working, whether at home or your employer’s premises, contact our office for advice on your entitlements because Helping You is Our Business.
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