Category Archives: Working from Home

Nannies, Baby-sitters, And Comp Coverage: Yes, We Still Have “Domestic Servants”

Today we have a guest blog from our colleagues Nathan Hammons and Charlie
Domer of Wisconsin.

Most families in Wisconsin have hired a baby-sitter or nanny to watch their children. The pay generally is in cash for a defined period of time. Does the situation create an employer-employee relationship, entitling an injured baby-sitter to worker’s compensation benefits?

Under the Worker’s Compensation Act, most employers in the state are required to provide worker’s compensation coverage for their employees. Employers of ‘domestic servants’, however, are completely exempt from the requirement. (Wis. Stat. §102.07(4)(a)1.) Unfortunately, neither the Act or Wisconsin courts provide a definition. So, what exactly is a domestic servant?

Significantly, the Department appears to treat the prevalent positions of in-home baby-sitter or nanny as exempt from the Act, which could expose the in-home “employers” to general negligence claims.

The name ‘domestic servant’ is antiquated. It brings up old images of butlers, maids, and other people toiling away in the mansions of royalty and the wealthy. Indeed, search Wikipedia for ‘domestic servant’ and you’ll be directed to ‘domestic worker’, the modern term and one that doesn’t imply inequality in the workplace. Without citation or authority, a Department publication indicated that it has “consistently ruled that persons hired in a private home to perform general household services such as nanny, baby-sitting, cooking, cleaning, laundering, gardening, yard and maintenance work and other duties commonly associated with the meaning of domestic servant, meet the definition of domestic servant intended by the Act.” Significantly, the Department appears to treat the prevalent positions of in-home baby-sitter or nanny as exempt from the Act, which could expose the in-home “employers” to general negligence claims.

Consequently, nannies Continue reading

Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.

Workers’ Comp Benefits Off the Work Site: Work At Home, Travel

This post is the first of many you’ll be seeing on our blog by guest writer Tom Domer of Wisconsin. In this post, Tom notes that over 18-million people work from home today. He smartly questions the traditional criteria for whether work done from home can be applied to a workers’ compensation claim. 

We are living in a digital age.

After all, we’re living in a digital age. Increased use of things like cell phones and laptops challenges standard ideas of what a work-related injury is. 

A whole host of “Course of Employment” issues accompanies the increased prevalence of work done at home, enhanced significantly by computer technology. Many employees contract with their employers to work frequently or exclusively from their homes. Does an accident in the employee’s kitchen Continue reading

Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.