Ask HR: Can Injured Remote Workers Seek Workers' Compensation?

By Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP September 2, 2022

SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is answering HR questions as part of a series for USA Today.

Do you have an HR or work-related question you'd like him to answer? Submit it here. 


I have worked remotely in my current position for the last two years. I recently injured myself while working from home during work hours. Can I seek workers' compensation benefits? —Shari

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: I'm sorry to hear you were injured! As the world increasingly relies on remote and hybrid work, new workplace scenarios will arise, so kudos to you for posing this question. You may be surprised to learn that you can indeed seek workers' compensation benefits, even though your injury happened while working at home. To be approved for workers' compensation benefits, you must first prove you were acting in the interest of your employer at the time the injury occurred.

Start by contacting your HR department. They will likely ask you a few questions so they can complete an injury/illness report. Remember to thoroughly document the details of the entire circumstances surrounding your injury. You'll also want to review your company's workers' compensation policy, if available.

Your company may also have a third-party carrier who will manage your workers' compensation claim after HR submits the illness/injury report; thus, the carrier may reach out to obtain additional details about when and how your injury occurred. Keep in mind, each state has unique workers' compensation regulations, so ask any clarifying questions needed for the state in which you work.

If your workers' compensation claim is approved, you may be required to visit a specific medical facility or physician for your injury. Be sure to ask if that is a requirement before you seek medical treatment. Depending on the workers' compensation policy, you may be entitled to 66 percent of your regular wages and up to 100 percent after a waiting period. Some companies may have employees use any accrued sick leave or paid time off during an otherwise unpaid waiting period.

I hope by taking these steps, you will be on your way to feeling better soon!

I was terminated from a job earlier this year. I haven't been able to find work in my field and have only worked part-time jobs since. My shame in not having recent success in my career has led to me closing myself off from former co-workers and friends. I've never been big on networking, but I feel like I might be missing out by not reaching out for help to the people I know. How can I better utilize my contacts in my job search? —Carter

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: First off, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your last job. There is no reason to be ashamed of your recent struggles. It is not easy being out of work, and it is even harder to ask for help. One of the best things I have done in my career is reach out to former co-workers and friends to give and, yes, receive support.

Don't be afraid to reach out to former co-workers and friends even if you haven't spoken with them in a while. Here are a few steps you can take to leverage these important relationships in your job search:

  • Have a plan. Figure out which specific opportunities you are looking for in your career field.
  • Focus on rebuilding relationships first. Networking is more than asking for a favor. Reconnect over a cup of coffee, if possible, or you can chat over the phone or connect on social media.
  • If you are looking to expand your network, consider joining a professional association.
  • Share your goals with your network and ask for their advice, not just a job. They may be able to recommend training or conferences to help you expand your skill set and meet even more people in your field.
  • Ask for their permission if you would like to use them as a reference.
  • Stay connected. Even after you land a new job, make efforts to stay in touch with them. Networking is not just about finding jobs, it is about relationships. And who knows, maybe one day you can return the favor!

Talking with your network of associates and friends helps to broaden your perspective and see opportunities you might otherwise miss. You've invested time and energy in cultivating these relationships. Not only is it perfectly acceptable to seek assistance, but it's also smart. The people you've worked with know what you are capable of and can offer insights you might overlook. Again, we are on the giving end sometimes; other times, we are on the receiving end. So, don't hesitate to ask for help and recommendations.

I hope you find the right opportunity for your career.



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