The walk from your bed to your desk could now count as a commute, according to a recent ruling from a German court.
The court ruled that a man should be covered by his company’s insurance after he suffered a fall on the way to his home office.
According to the decision issued last week by Germany’s Federal Social Court, known as the Bundessozialgericht, the unnamed man slipped on a spiral staircase and broke his back.
The court said the man should be protected by his employer’s statutory accident insurance because he walked straight from his bedroom to his desk in the morning, adding that he did so without having breakfast.
The employer’s insurer had refused to cover the accident claim. A regional social court had judged that the claimant’s walk from his bedroom to his home office was an “uninsured preparatory act that only precedes the actual activity,” according to a translation of the ruling.
However, a higher social court then said it viewed this “first morning journey from bed to the home office as an insured work route” and the Federal Social Court then confirmed the decision.
The German Federal Social Court explained that if the “insured activity is carried out in the household of the insured person or at another location, insurance cover is provided to the same extent as when the activity is carried out at the company premises.”
It said that the law applied to teleworking positions, which were considered as “computer workstations that are permanently set up by the employer in the private area of the employees.”
There has been an increasing focus on improving the rights of remote workers, with many having been forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. In October, Portugal passed new labor laws, which included a ban on bosses contacting employees outside of working hours.
The rules also required employers to contribute to their staff’s work-from-home expenses, such as internet and electricity.
In January, lawmakers in European Parliament also voted in favor of putting forward a “right to disconnect” law to implement across the bloc, enabling workers to turn off their work devices at the end of the day.