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The challenge of remote workers and workers' compensation

If you are an employer that keeps up with trends, you might be among those in Louisiana that offer some employees the opportunity to work from home or other remote site. Telecommuting is possible today because modern technology allows for it. By putting it to work, employers can provide the work-life flexibility and attract and retain better employee candidates.

The convenience of remote working does not come without a price. Employers still have an obligation to provide workers' compensation coverage for injuries suffered on the job, but because the employees are not at the work site, managers face a challenge of how to minimize the risk of job-related health problems while also ensuring they protect the business against legitimate claim denials.

Meeting the challenge

It might not seem that there's much an employer can do to mitigate liability against an illegitimate workers' compensation claim from a telecommuting worker. However, those with experience appreciate there are actions worth considering.

The most fundamental of these is to make sure that your company has a clear and comprehensive policy in place regarding remote working standards, and that workers are fully cognizant about them. These might include:

  • Insisting that workers have designated work spaces at home.
  • Requiring that the setup support good ergonomics.
  • Setting proper standards for adequate ventilation and lighting.
  • Ensuring against electrical cord and fire hazards.

Besides setting those standards, you have a right to set standards on expected working hours and make the scope of the person's job very clear.

Noting that there are limits to ways for monitoring compliance, employers should ensure that employees are informed on remote work policies and that they have agreed to them. At the very least, employees should review and sign the policy in front of you to indicate their understanding of expectations.

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