The Federal Social Court in Germany has ruled that a man who fell down the stairs and broke his back while walking from his bedroom to his home office, can file a claim on his employers’ insurance, noting that he was commuting at the time.
This ruling followed two lower courts that were undecided over whether the mans’ journey of several feet could classify as a “commute”.
Federal Social Court in Germany ruled in favour of an employee
The man who filed the claim works for an unidentified German company, was on his way to commence his work one floor below his bedroom when he slipped and fractured a vertebra, said the court while issuing a statement to the same effect. Since he was walking down the stairs to his home office for the very first time that day, the court ruled that his journey be “insured as an activity in the interest of his employer, as his commute to work”.
With a vast majority of people choosing to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany altered its employment laws to allow more activities at home that would be covered by workplace insurance, if those activities were in the interests of the employer.
Killian O’Brien, a lecturer in German Law at University College London said this change ended what was once “a very strict separation in law between home and work activities”,
Many insurers who provided statutory accident insurance cover to employees in Germany, would potentially face increased claims after this ruling by the German Federal Social court.
This would mainly be because Germany now has an increased categorization of activities and events that are carried out at home which can be covered by employer insurance. It also means that there is a likelihood of insurers referring to this ruling more often.