Historically, New York’s workers’ compensation system has taken a dim view of claims for injuries suffered while working at home. In most cases, the person making the claim usually worked in an office of some type, but sometimes took work home and was injured on one of those occasions. In order to provide coverage, the Workers’ Compensation Board would require proof that the home was truly “a second workplace,” with a specified office, materials or equipment provided by the employer, etc..
The COVID-19 pandemic created a dramatic change in working arrangements for hundreds of thousands of workers. Homes and apartments did indeed become second workplaces, with equipment provided or paid for by employers so people could work remotely.
As a result, someone who was injured while working from home during the pandemic would likely be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage for the injury. This would be true for a specific accident (such as a trip and fall), an ergonomic-type injury (repetitive strain from an improper or unusual work setup), or even if the injury occurred during a momentary break from work (for example to go to the kitchen or the bathroom).