The Australian work place is a constantly evolving space and, with the advent of more and more convenient technologies, many businesses and Australian workers are opting for the convenience of ‘work from home’ options. ‘Working from home’ can create some confusion about how work related injuries and compensation works, so our team at Gordon Legal have compiled some useful information to help you understand your rights and entitlements should you sustain a work related injury while at a work site other than the commercial premises your employer normally operates out of.
Is working from home the same as being in the office?
If you are being paid by your employer to provide services from your home office rather than a typical work environment, then any injuries sustained while working for your employer is a work related injury. According to Australian work safety laws, any environment in which you are working for your employer is a work site, and your home office counts just as much as an office inside a commercial property would or a building site might.
Treat your home office the same way you would a commercial office inside your employer’s premises.
If you work for your employer from your home office either part or all of the time in which you are employed, then your home office should be treated just like any other office. Report and manage all of the hazards in your home office the same way you would report or manage any hazards in a commercial property. Your employer can only help you to manage those hazards when they know about them so ensure that you record all of your correspondence which you send your employer about hazards or issues related to your work space at home.
Just as if you were attending a commercial property every day, your employer must help you to sustain a safe working environment. Obviously, however, your employer does not have the same control of your home environment that they do of their office. It is here that some legal grey areas may occur in the event of a work related injury sustained while working from home.
What should you do if you sustain a work related injury while working from home?
If you have sustained a work related injury while working from home then the first thing you should do is seek medical advice and tell your medical practitioner that the injury is work related. After you have received treatment for your injury then you should alert your employer as soon as possible. We recommend that you do this in writing either via email and/or by using the incident reporting process that your employer uses. It is important to retain as many records of correspondence with your employer as possible.
As with any work-related injury or illness for which you are intending to seek compensation, you are required to lodge a claim for compensation either through your employer or by obtaining a WorkCover claim form from an Australian Post Office your doctor or a Gordon Legal office.
You must submit your compensation claim form as soon as possible as there are strict timeframes that apply. These vary state by state. Contact Gordon Legal for advice specific to your claim.
If you believe that you have sustained an injury while working from home but are not sure of your rights and entitlements, or if you find the process confusing, then feel free to contact any of our legal professionals on 1800 21 22 23. You can also log on to our website at www.gordonlegal.com.au for more information. We’re here to help.