EUROGIP Study on the Treatment of Occupational Accidents in Seven European Countries

UV – 05/2023

March this year, EUROGIP published a Study on the Treatment of Remote Occupational Accidents, providing an overview of the situation in seven European countries. EUROGIP is a public advocacy group for issues related to the prevention and insurance of occupational accidents and diseases, founded in 1991 by the French Health Insurance Fund for Workers (CNAMTS) and the National Institute for Research and Safety (INRS). The subject of the study is the legal handling of remote occupational accidents and the related questions about the extent of insurance protection for employees and the specific employer obligations for adequate remote occupational safety. The study focuses on remote workplaces, i.e. working at a fixed workplace in the home environment. Other forms of remote work are excluded.

European world of work in transition

The working world has undergone profound changes in recent years. More employees than ever before worked from home during the pandemic. In the future, according to EUROGIP, a large number of workers in Europe will continue to work from home regularly or, in a hybrid model, occasionally. According to the Framework Directive on Occupational Safety and Health, employers should in principle remain responsible for the health and safety of their workers even when they are working remotely. The national design shows significant differences in the implementation. For example, in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Finland, legal regulations have been established for the concept of occupational accident. In France and Spain, the presumption that any accident at the workplace during working hours is considered an occupational accident has also been applied to the remote workplace. However, a differentiated solution is being sought in other countries. However, there are many "grey areas" related to the difficulty of clearly distinguishing between private and work-related activities in the domestic environment in order to more clearly determine the employee's insurance coverage. Therefore, not only is the handling of commuting accidents inconsistent, but also the equipment of remote workplaces. In half of the countries included in the study, the employer is not obliged to provide ergonomic equipment. In Germany, the employer is already obliged to set up a remote workplace, while Austria, for example, relies on tax benefits for employees if they set up a remote workplace themselves.


The European social partners started negotiations in 2022 to revise the European framework agreement on remote work, which will cover, among other things, the right to adequate work equipment and the right to disconnect.

German remote work regulations

The term remote work is legally defined in Germany and means that the employer provides a permanently installed computer workstation including furniture in the employee’s private space. The work performance owed under the employment contract is protected by the statutory accident insurance in the case of remote work. This also includes special activities such as company sports or company community events should they be conducted virtually. Austria and Italy have also opted for equivalent protection at the remote workplace under certain conditions. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent European initiatives will further influence this in the future.