February 8, 2021

Will My Employee Insurance Be Different Under COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work. That, in turn, affects employers’ obligations and abilities when it comes to employee insurance. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Is Employee Liability Insurance Still a Legal Requirement? 

In the UK, the government advises employers to get employers’ liability (EL) insurance as soon as possible. The policy should cover you for a minimum of £5 million and come from an authorized insurer. This insurance is important because it will help pay compensation if an employee becomes sick or injured as a result of their work. Every day you are not properly insured, you risk a fine of £2,500. EL certificates should be readily available for inspection; if not, you risk a fine of £1,000. Organizations may be exempt from purchasing EL if they employ close family members or workers based abroad. However, you must be sure to abide by the laws of the country where your employees are located.

Given the large-scale shift in working style brought about by the pandemic, it is advisable to speak directly with your insurance company or with an insurance expert to see if you have adequate coverage for employees working from home.

What Are a Remote Employee’s Insurance Requirements?

With the workforce leaving offices and largely working from home, it can be difficult to know what rights employees have in this new environment. That said, working from home has more implications for home insurance than for employee insurance. Home insurance companies usually advise individuals to let them know if said individual is suddenly working from home. The nature of your job plays a role here: If you are doing more clerical or administrative work, it may not be necessary to contact your insurer. 

What Does an Employer Need to Cover for Employees Working From Home?

From an employer’s perspective, it is always worth ensuring that your employee’s workplace is safe, especially if they are keeping company stock or seeing clients in their homes. As much as possible, employers should ensure that employees comply with the company’s health and safety policies. Industry experts advise providing employees with work-from-home safety surveys to help them comply.

Experts also recommend checking that employees’ home insurance policies are up to date and will cover them in the event of accidents during working hours. It is advisable to have copies of this documentation on file.

Does Employee Insurance Cover Working From Home?

If you are still employed and working, regardless of your location, it follows that you are still at risk of injury or illness. As such, the company’s employee insurance policy should still extend to cover you while you are working from home. If an employee sustains an injury during the course of their work while they are working remotely, they should be covered by compensation insurance. Given the current worldwide situation, it is also worth noting that psychological injuries can fall under compensation claims.

In the UK, a company is still responsible for paying 50 percent of their remote employees’ employment taxes, providing liability coverage for the employees, and covering business-owned equipment with commercial property insurance.

If you are using company resources at home, including devices like a smartphone or laptop, it is worth checking with your employer to see whether these items are covered outside of the workplace. These items would typically be the responsibility of the company rather than an individual’s household policy.

Are Freelancers Covered by Employee Insurance?

Freelancers are, according to the law, business owners in their own right. Subsequently, they are responsible for their own taxes, liabilities, and insurance policies. If they are working from home, it is their responsibility to ensure they have the correct coverage from their home insurance policies for business purposes.

What Happens to Employee Insurance for Employees on Furlough?

In the UK, employees are covered by the company’s insurance policy for all the time they are working. As employees on furlough are not legally permitted to work, it follows that they are no longer covered by company policy during the time they are not working.

This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

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Daniel Tannenbaum is a startup consultant specializing in fintech, employee benefits, and digital marketing.
http://tudorlodgeconsultants.com/