When working, employees have a right to take breaks. Of course, this includes bathroom breaks and other periods of relaxation a couple of times per day. Additionally, most people have to take a lunch break or other meal period at some point during their shift. The question that many have is whether they qualify for workers’ compensation while on their lunch breaks.
The answer is that it depends. Sometimes, you can qualify for workers’ compensation when an injury occurs on your breaks. However, this only occurs sometimes. The conditions surrounding the accident and why you got hurt in the first place are often determining factors in your workers’ comp claim.
What is workers’ compensation?
When someone gets hurt on the job, they might not have the ability to continue working. Therefore, their income might drop, and their ability to make a secure living could become imperiled.
As a result, they might have to rely on the supplementary income provided by workers’ compensation to help them through these difficult circumstances. With the benefit of workers’ compensation, the injured party can rest securely knowing that they have a degree of protection against financial losses.
To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must be able to prove that your injury occurred as a result of your working duties. However, the scope of your employment might vary considerably, and therefore injuries sustained in numerous circumstances might qualify for workers’ comp. Where does this leave break or lunch period injuries?
Workers’ Compensation for Lunch Break Injuries
On one hand, taking a lunch break means that you are not working. Therefore, standard reasoning indicates that you should not qualify for workers compensation on these breaks. However, this isn’t exactly a hard and fast rule.
For example, if you leave work for your lunch break, but your employer asks you to do a work errand while out, then you will still be at work even during this downtime. Should you get hurt in an accident during this period, you might qualify for workers’ compensation. Even though you were on your lunch break, you still had to do a work errand. Therefore, this could be considered a working duty.
However, if you simply leave your office to pick up your own lunch, then you usually don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. You were out of the office on your own time.
Still, if you remain on your company premises during your lunch break, then you might continue to qualify for workers’ compensation even during lunch. A company lunchroom is part of your company’s premises. Therefore, by staying on the premises, you are still available to do work. As a result, you might qualify for workers’ compensation should accidents occur in these settings.
If you are curious about your workers’ compensation qualifications, speak to your employer or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. They can help you determine what injuries will qualify for such claims.