German court rules walking from bed to home office counts as commuting

In a landmark judgement, a court in Germany has ruled that walking from bed to home office is technically commuting and if a person falls while making this journey for the first time, it comes under workplace accident insurance.   

In the case, the court said the man, who slipped after walking a few meters from bed towards his home office, can claim workplace accident insurance.

The man, an area sales manager working for a company identified only as “R-GmbH” was on his way to work “from his bedroom to his home office one floor below,” when he slipped and fractured a vertebra, according to a statement issued by the court on Wednesday.

His employers initially refused to cover his claim, however he was walking down the stairs, for the first time that day straight to his home office, the court considered his journey to be “insured as an activity in the interest of his employer, as a commute to work.”

German employment law changed in June to include more activities at home that would be covered by workplace insurance, if those activities were in the interests of the employer.  This is due to the rising number of people who are working from home.

This claim has ceased a strict separation in law between home and work activities, said Killian O’Brien, a lecturer in German Law at University College London. Insurers providing statutory accident cover would potentially be facing increased claims following this week’s ruling, he added.

“This is because there is an increased category of activities and events that you can carry out [within the home] that will now be covered, and it seems likely that insurers will therefore have to revisit this ruling often,” he told CNN Business.

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