Worker's Compensation for Out of State Workers

Are My Employees Covered Under Workers’ Compensation While Working Out of State?

The pandemic has affected our lives in many ways. One of the challenges special districts face is how to answer insurance-based questions on telecommuting.

While telecommuting is certainly not a new concept, employers were caught off guard when asked to facilitate the massive transition from working in an office to working from home and, in some cases, working from a state other than Colorado.

Our members have since asked whether there are any coverage issues when employees are telecommuting from home or anywhere else worldwide.

The short answer is, it depends.

In general, employees working from home would have the same workers’ compensation coverage as long as they are within the course and scope of their duties.

Consider implementing a telecommuting policy to cover the various issues below:

  • Assist with scheduling work hours and designating a work area
  • Redesign workflow to adapt to telecommuting if needed
  • If an employee is occasionally required to leave home for business, i.e. to retrieve mail from the Post Office or go to the bank, they should plan the trip in advance to avoid unexpected disruption
  • Assist employees with work area ergonomics and lighting
  • Make sure the designated work area has a functional ventilation system and is equipped with a smoke detector. It is also recommended to have a portable fire extinguisher at home
  • Survey telecommuting employees on a periodic and consistent basis to ensure they have adequate support from their management and employer
  • Refresh certain workers’ compensation procedures, such as claims filing and designated medical provider notification

Employees working outside of Colorado must be on a temporary assignment from their employer, with “temporary” generally defined as a duration of not more than six months.

If your employees work out of state for a prolonged period of time, we may be able to extend coverage beyond six months if they are required to return to Colorado periodically.

Other Factors

Based on prior litigation, there are other factors which may affect workers’ compensation jurisdiction should an employee be injured while on an out of state assignment; therefore, it is important to have discussions and alert the insurance carrier before any injuries occur.

Additionally, if you have employees residing in Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, or Wyoming, it is imperative that you check with us and with individual state authorities to maintain compliance with each state’s regulations in advance of the work deployment.

These states are considered monopolistic states and as such do not allow private insurance for workers’ compensation.

Instead, the state or a state-sponsored agency is the only entity that can provide workers’ compensation unless specific conditions are met.

In rare cases in which employees are assigned to work in a foreign country, we again recommend that members contact us prior to making any foreign travel or work arrangements in order to verify that the continuity of workers’ compensation coverage, either with the Pool or through the correct agency.

Workers’ compensation coverage may be available anywhere in the world outside the United States or United States’ possessions and territories, except countries or areas of countries that are assigned a Travel Advisory Ranking at the time of travel.

That said, the best advice we can give is to please contact your broker or the Pool to obtain accurate and current information regarding coverage needs.

Rest assured, your Workers’ Compensation coverage through the CSD Pool is very broad. However, it is important for our members to remain diligent on the most current changes in workers’ compensation coverage, especially throughout these unprecedented times.

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