COVID-19 has completely redefined what an “office” is or can be. Before the pandemic changed our everyday lives, most people worked in an office with other employees, and these offices featured well-known employee rights, rules, and regulations. COVID-19 has meant a large percent of the population is now working from home, and at home, employee rights are not as clear cut. Below, you can learn more about working from home and employee rights.
BUSINESSES NOT REQUIRED TO OFFER REMOTE WORK OPTION
There is no law forcing businesses to offer remote work to employees. Businesses must comply with all health and safety warnings and regulations, and if your place of business is closed, they must offer remote work. However, in general, there is no explicit law forcing businesses to offer remote work. We suggest asking to work remotely if you are worried about your health and safety and given the circumstances, most businesses will approve the request.
WHAT IF I AM AT RISK OR IMMUNOCOMPROMISED?
If you are an individual with preexisting conditions that put you at higher risk, you may be able to find remote work accommodations in accordance with state and federal disability law. First, reach out to your boss to ask if you can work remotely because of your condition. If they refuse, then you should contact your union or HR representative, and you may need to seek legal representation to argue on your behalf.
PAID SICK LEAVE WHEN WORKING FROM HOME
Even if you are working at home, you should be provided with paid sick leave. This is especially true if you contract the virus while working or if your job in some way puts you at risk of exposure. You also may be eligible for sick leave if a family member gets infected, especially if you need to care for that individual or are forced to quarantine. In general, an infection should result in two weeks of paid leave to give you the time you need to recover.
SICK DAYS AS A PRECAUTION
If you think you or a family member may be infected, you are encouraged to take a sick day. Even if you do not have a positive test, you are eligible to take a sick day to help stop the spread of the virus and mitigate infection.
OUT OF SICK DAYS?
If you are out of sick days and become infected, you might be asked to file a Disability Insurance claim to get paid for your time off. In general, your payment should equal around 60% to 70% of your usual income during disability leave.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FOR ERGONOMIC INJURIES
Many home offices do not have the proper equipment to support a comfortable, safe, and healthy workday. That is why all remote workers are encouraged to invest in a comfortable workstation that is specifically catered to their needs. However, not everyone has the budget to buy the equipment needed to support a workday. This can lead to a huge increase in ergonomic injuries, which are musculoskeletal disorders caused by continued discomfort. Some popular examples include a pinched nerve, herniated disc, or muscle sprains. If you suffer an ergonomic injury working remotely, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
WORKING FROM HOME EMPLOYEE RIGHTS ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO
If you are working from home and feel as if your employee rights are being violated, contact The Law Office of Matthew Russell. We specialize in workers’ compensation and employee rights, and we will fight for you to make sure your needs as a worker are being met.
If you are interested in learning more about remote employee rights, contact The Law Office of Matthew Russell today by calling (619) 544-1506