December 10, 2021 4:12:37 pm
A man who fell and suffered an injury while moving from his bedroom to home office can claim accident insurance benefits as he was technically commuting to work, ruled a German court, according to a report in The Guardian.
The case gains significance as the pandemic saw several companies across the world switch to a work-from-home mode. The German ruling provides an interesting perspective into how insurance claims could be see under the current circumstances.
In the December 8 ruling, the court said it saw the first journey in the morning from work to home office as an insured work route, the report in The Guardian said further.
The report said the case was based on a back injury that the employee suffered while walking from his bedroom to the home office one floor below. It said that the unnamed man was walking on the spiral staircase connecting the rooms, when he slipped and injured himself.
The court order ruled that the claimant had the accident at work when he fell on the way to his home office in the morning, said the report.
According to The Guardian, the court said that the man “usually starts to work immediately without having breakfast beforehand.” While it did not elaborate the significance of this statement, the British newspaper noted that the statutory accident insurance is applicable only for the first journey to work. This suggests that “a trip on the way to get breakfast after already being in the home office could be rejected,” said the report.
The case had gone to court after the person’s work insurance company refused to cover the claim, said the media report. It said that two lower courts had disagreed as to whether the short walk constitutes a commute. However, the Federal Social Court found that “the first morning journey from bed to the home office [was] an insured work route”, it added.
The Federal Social Court in Germany is an appeals court that hears social security cases related to occupational accident insurance issues.
During the coronavirus pandemic, several companies across the world have provided work-from-home options to their employees. However, the media report says it is unclear if the person’s work-from-home status was induced by the pandemic or not. The court has said that the ruling applies to “teleworking positions” and defines a workplace as “computer workstations that are permanently set up by the employer in the private area of the employees,” it added.
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