Can you have a work accident… while teleworking?

Can you have a work accident… while teleworking?

A Paris town hall employee who fractured her foot during remote training is attacking the City to obtain full coverage for her sick leave from her employer. But can we consider a domestic accident as a work accident when we are teleworking?

Her ironing board breaks on her foot, she attacks her employer

The story may seem absurd, but addresses a real practical question, as teleworking has boomed since the lockdowns and Covid. According to information from Figaro, a Paris town hall employee who broke her foot in 2021 with her ironing board is suing the city before the administrative court to obtain full coverage of her sick leave by her employer. His argument? This happened during a break during distance training. If the case is litigated, the reform commission responsible for examining his file in July 2021 rejected his request, considering that the incident does not relate to an activity linked to his profession. The Paris administrative court rendered a similar judgment on November 9, 2023. According to him, “if it appears from the documents in the file that this accident took place during the applicant’s time of service, the circumstances of this accident cannot be considered as constituting the normal extension or relating to the exercise of her duties”.

Teleworking accidents: cases that are difficult to qualify

The case is not the only one to raise the question of responsibility in this particular working time. Two recent judgments handed down by courts of appeal have also called into question the professional classification of these accidents. Thus, in 2023 a CPAM employee who was injured during a day of teleworking by falling down the stairs at her home was refused classification as a work accident: the fall would have taken place at 4:02 p.m. when she had already “unbadged” her end of the working day at 4:01 p.m.

In another case, an employee of a bank in Reunion, working remotely, fell due to telephone cables being pulled across his street. If the employee claims that he was precisely outside to check that his professional connection would be reestablished, the Reunion Court of Appeal, in its judgment of May 4, 2023, did not recognize this accident as a work accident, considering that the employee “interrupted his work” by going out to find out the origin of the computer failure.

Two cases which highlight the complexity of qualifying accidents occurring during teleworking.

Accident during teleworking hours: what does the law say?

However, on paper, in the event of a work accident while teleworking, the law is clear:

“The accident which occurred at the place where telecommuting during the exercise of the professional activity of the teleworker is presumed to be a work accident”. In theory, the accident should be handled in the same way and under the same conditions as if it had occurred on the company’s premises.

Do you get injured while working remotely? The procedures remain the same as in the event of an accident on your company’s premises.

  • As an employee, you must first send a medical certificate to your Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM).
  • You also have 24 hours to notify (or have notified) your employer of this accident, except in cases of force majeure and absolute impossibility.
  • For its part, the company must complete a declaration and send it to the CPAM within 48 hours of the incident.
  • If the accident causes work stoppage, the employer must also provide the CPAM with a certificate allowing it to calculate the daily certificates to which you are entitled, as an employee.

But in practice, your employer has the possibility of contesting the professional origin of the facts. He thus has 10 days to submit his reservations to the CPAM, which will be able to conduct an investigation for 70 days. This means: the accident that occurred outside of teleworking hours or location (even in front of your house) declared is not presumed to be an accident at work. Likewise, the employee must demonstrate that there is a link between his accident and nature from his work.