Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill into law June 24 limiting workers’ comp benefits for work-from-home injuries.
Prior to the enactment of this law, HB 447, law firm Thompson Hine said an injury sustained “in the course of, and arising out of one’s employment when working at one’s home was treated in the same way” as an injury that occurred at the employer’s workplace.
A ‘difficult hurdle’ for injured employees
HB 447 now limits the compensability under the state’s workers’ compensation laws for work-from-home injuries.
For example, the standard definition for “injury” under the Ohio law requires the injury to occur “in the course of, and arising out of, the injured employee’s employment.”
However, a work-from-home injury will only meet the law’s definition of injury if it occurs “in the course of activity undertaken by the employee for the exclusive benefit of the employer” and was caused by what has been termed a “special hazard” of the employee’s job duties.
Thompson Hine said this will make for “a difficult hurdle” for employees to overcome when they attempt to get benefits for an injury that occurred while working from home. It’s also still unclear at this time what types of injuries will be compensable under the new law.
Get policies, processes, requirements in place
Since work-from-home has become much more widespread than ever before, employers should ensure that they have policies in place for job expectations and requirements for employees working remotely.
Employers should also have processes in place for reporting and investigating injuries that occur outside of the employer’s workplace.