Accident - what You Need to Know

We tell you what to look for in a work injury - so you can put your time and energy into your recovery.

I work an 80% part-time job in the administration of a pharmaceutical company. Two days a week I do home office.

Here I had an embarrassing accident: I wanted to go down from the second floor to the kitchen to make a tea. I tripped so badly on the stairs that I got a concussion and a compound fracture of the foot.

I immediately reported the accident to my employer. But now I'm not sure whether an accident in the home office is an occupational accident at all. Can you enlighten me?

I am on 100% sick leave for at least four weeks and then probably another few weeks of partial sick leave. What benefits will I receive? Can the employer fire me during this time?

Riku A.


Riku was absolutely right to report his accident to his employer immediately. The employer's accident insurance is responsible for Riku's case either way. Since he works for the company for more than 8 hours, the employer's accident insurance covers both occupational and non-occupational accidents. If he worked less than 8 hours a week, only occupational accidents would be covered.

What Accident Insurance Covers

Accident insurance covers:

  • Occupational accidents: Accidents that occur while performing an occupation.
  • Non-occupational accidents: All other accidents that occur on the way to work, during leisure time, sports, traffic accidents, in the household, etc. The employer's accident insurance covers these accidents if the employee works 8 hours or more per week.
  • Occupational diseases: Illnesses caused exclusively or predominantly by harmful substances or certain work in the course of occupational activity according to a list drawn up by the Federal Council. See the article "Occupational Disease - these Are Your Rights".

An Accident in the Home Office Is an Occupational Accident

Work activity in a home office is legally equivalent to work activity in an office or other place of work. Since Riku had an accident while walking to the kitchen during working hours, his accident is considered an occupational accident. This would even be the case if he had had an accident on his way to lunch at the restaurant around the corner.

Accident or Illness?

In Riku's case, the facts are clear, but sometimes accidents are difficult to distinguish from diseases.

An accident is a sudden, unintentional damaging effect of an unusual external factor on the human body. Certain bodily injuries that are similar to the consequences of an accident are equated with accidents.
All other events affecting health are diseases. This is the responsibility of the health insurance.

In the case of accidents in the home office, in contrast to the laboratory or office, there are often no witnesses to the accident. That is why it is advisable to document what happened. For example, with cell phone photos and notes.

Accident Insurance Pays Daily Allowances, Pensions and Helplessness Compensation

According to the Federal Law on Accident Insurance (UVG), Riku is entitled to 80% of his salary from the third day of the accident. If he is subject to a collective labor agreement or if a better arrangement is provided for in his company's personnel regulations, he may even be entitled to 100% of his salary for a certain period, depending on his length of service.

During the time he is on sick leave, he should recover and not work. The accident insurance can even claim back daily allowances if someone works despite being unable to work.

In medically more severe cases, the accident insurance can also pay disability pensions as well as helplessness compensation.

Protection against Dismissal as in the Case of Illness

Employees who are unable to work as a result of an accident enjoy the same protection against dismissal as in the case of illness: 30 days in the first year of employment after the end of the probationary period, 90 days from the second to the fifth year of employment and 180 days from the sixth year of employment.

Prevention Is Better than Cure

The only good accidents are those that never happen. Therefore, always be careful! You can find helpful tips on accident prevention on the websites of Suva and the BFU accident prevention advisory service (links below).

Stay healthy!


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