In Germany, falling out of bed to telecommute is now considered an accident at work

Lhe scene has become very banal with the Covid-19 pandemic, but it takes place several months before the world begins to confine itself, on September 17, 2018. A German comes out of his bedroom to go to his office, located one floor lower, and start the day with a little telecommuting.

This man, whose story is told by several media including Agence France-Presse, is regional sales manager of R GmbH, the sports car division of Volkswagen. And he always starts his days in the same way, going to work directly, without going through the breakfast box, a detail that is important. But, that day, patatras: when he takes the spiral staircase which connects the room to the office, he slips, breaks a leg and fractures a thoracic vertebra.

Professional journey

The trade association for the trade and logistics of goods refused to cover this accident. The victim did not hear it that way and went to court. At first instance, the social court of Aix-la-Chapelle considered that his first morning trip between bed and his home office was a professional trip, therefore insured as an accident at work.

On appeal, the State Social Court of North Rhine-Westphalia considered it as a preparatory act which only precedes the actual activity and found that it was not covered by insurance.

But on December 8, the Federal social court (Bundessozialgericht, abbreviated to BSG, located in Kassel), which deals with social law in Germany and is one of the five German supreme courts, confirmed the initial decision of the social court. Falling out of bed on the way to your desk to telecommute may well be considered an accident at work.

GSO stated that “The first morning commute from bed to the home office [était] a guaranteed work route “. He felt that: “The Complainant suffered a workplace accident when he fell on his way to his home office in the morning. ” This judgment takes on its full significance due to the increased use of teleworking in Germany to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic.

“Insurance coverage runs”

the BSG explains in a press release that his decision “Serves the safety and protection of the health of employees during the planning and operation of workplaces”. The court adds that “If the insured activity is carried out at the domicile of the insured or in another place, the insurance cover is carried out to the same extent as when the activity is carried out on the premises of the undertaking ‘.

Driving the point home, the judgment specifies that the law applies to “Teleworking stations”, which are “Computer workstations permanently installed by the employer in the private area of ​​the employees”. There remains the question of ” breakfast ” mentioned by the Federal Social Court, without further explanation. According to Versicherungsbote, a publication specializing in insurance, and a blogger specializing in technology, it seems that for the BSG the employee is only covered for the route by which he goes ” at work “, suggesting that a hook by the coffee maker or teapot could void this warranty.

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