Court rules Walking from bed to home office counts as commuting

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  • A court ruled that a man who slipped and injured himself while working from home was commuting and could claim workers’ compensation.
  • While walking up a spiral staircase connecting his bedroom and home office, the man slipped and broke his back.
  • Read more weird news here.

Did you know that walking from your bedroom to the office to your home office can be considered a commute? And that if you injure yourself on that “commute”, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation? Because this is exactly how a German court has just ruled.

The court ruled that a man who slipped and injured his back while walking a few feet from his bed to his home office was technically commuting, reports the Guardian.

The unnamed man fell while descending a spiral staircase between his bedroom and his home office, resulting in a fractured vertebra in his back.

His employer’s insurance refused to cover the medical costs caused by the accident, but now, due to the decision of the Bundessozialgericht (German Federal Social Court), they will.

The court noted that the employee usually started working in his home office “immediately without having breakfast first”, but did not explain why this was relevant to the case. However, he later stated that statutory accident insurance was only granted for the “first” trip to work, suggesting that a trip on the way to breakfast after having already been to the office in domicile could be rejected.

According to CNBC, a lower court first ruled that the man’s walk from his bedroom to his home office was an “uninsured preparatory act that precedes only actual activity.”

Later, a higher social court said it considered his “first morning commute from bed to home office to be a secure work route.”

The Bundessozialgericht has given its agreement, specifying that if “the insured activity is carried out at the domicile of the insured or at another place, the insurance cover is ensured to the same extent as when the activity is carried out on the premises of the company ”.

Killian O’Brien, Senior Lecturer in German Law at University College London, said CNN Affairs that insurers offering statutory accident coverage could face an increased number of claims as a result of the court ruling.

“It is because there is an increased category of activities and events that you can carry out [within the home] which will now be covered, and it seems likely that insurers will therefore have to revisit this decision often, ”said O’Brien.

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