Injuries while working from home were not considered occupational injuries SAC case No. 441-22 and 3375-22

Two workers sought medical treatment after suffering dental injuries while working from home. They then applied for compensation for their treatment costs under the occupational injury insurance scheme. Although the work from home had been done at the request of their respective employers, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court (Sw. Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen) (the "SAC") held that the injuries could not be classified as occupational injuries, as they were related to private life. They were therefore not covered by the occupational injury insurance and the claims for compensation were rejected.

Vinge’s comment

Since the covid-19 pandemic, it has become more common for employees to work from home, which has raised an increased number of questions about work environment while working from home. In two interesting cases, the SAC examined what should be considered an occupational injury when an accident occurs in connection to work from home. The SAC's reasoning in the two cases confirms previous case law, which established that the assessment of what should be considered an occupational injury when working from home should be more restrictive compared to when an accident occurs on the employer's premises. The SAC has also stated that it does not matter for the assessment whether the work from home is voluntary or on the employer's orders. In other words, the rulings make it clear that even though more employees are working from home, either on their own initiative or as a result of certain employers not offering any other workplace, it does not give rise to an expansion of the concept of occupational injury, which is a prerequisite for receiving compensation through the occupational injury insurance. Instead, the same factors as before must be considered. This means that there must be a clear connection between an injury which has occurred at home and the actual work, in order for it to be classified as an occupational injury and not an injury attributable to private life.


The two cases concern a producer and an economist who worked from home during the covid-19 pandemic at the request of their respective employers. Both employees suffered dental injuries in connection with their work and had to seek treatment, for which a fee was taken. The producer damaged his teeth when he bent down under his desk in order to plug in a cable to his computer. His three-year-old son was playing underneath the desk and suddenly stood up, resulting in their heads colliding. The economist injured herself when she got up from her desk to leave a coffee cup in the kitchen. She was preparing to walk her dog and the dog became so excited that it jumped up towards her, causing their heads to collide.

The SAC’s judgments

Initially, the SAC stated that everyone who has a paid job in Sweden is insured for occupational injuries under the occupational injury insurance scheme. It entitles an employee to receive financial compensation for necessary treatment costs incurred as a result of an occupational injury. The concept of occupational injury normally includes injuries that occur in connection with the employee performing his or her work duties. However, the SAC emphasised that an injury that occurs in connection with an employee working from home should be assessed more restrictively than one that occurs at a workplace provided by the employer. This is because accidents that occur in the home are not always attributable to work, even if they occur while a person is performing their work. Therefore, the SAC held that the cause of an accident should also be considered in cases when working from home. If the cause of injury can be considered predominantly related to the work, it should be considered as an occupational injury. Furthermore, the SAC emphasised that the assessment does not change depending on whether the work from home is voluntary or not.

The SAC then went into more detail about the assessment in the two relevant cases. In the producer's case, it was found that the injury had occurred in connection with the performance of his work duties. However, the injury was caused by his head colliding with his son's head, which must be considered a cause attributable to private life. Consequently, the SAC found that there was no connection between the work and the accident, which meant that the injury was not considered to be an occupational injury. Regarding the economist, the SAC made the assessment that the injury did not occur while she was performing her work duties, but rather while she was putting a coffee cup in the kitchen while preparing to walk her dog. Therefore, the injury could not be considered an occupational injury. The SAC's assessments meant that neither the producer nor the economist was entitled to compensation for their dental care costs through the occupational injury insurance.