What are Florida employers’ responsibilities when purchasing Workers Compensation? (part 1)

Under Florida Workers Compensation Law (WCL), in general, every Florida employer that has four or more employees (full-time or part-time) must secure workers’ compensation coverage. However, special coverage requirements apply for employers in the agriculture and construction industries.

AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY

Agricultural employers must secure workers’ compensation coverage if they have:

  • Six or more regular employees; or
  • At least 12 seasonal employees whose agricultural work is completed in less than 30 days and do not perform the seasonal work for more than 45 days in the same calendar year.
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Contractors and subcontractors that engage in any public or private construction in Florida are required to secure workers’ compensation coverage if they have one or more employees (full-time or part-time).

If a contractor sublets any portion of a contract to a subcontractor, all of thecontractors’ and subcontractors’ employees who engage in work under the contract are considered to be employees of the contractor for purposes of the WCL’s coverage requirements.

However, a contractor is not required to maintain coverage for its subcontractors’ employees if the subcontractor already has its own coverage for them. In this situation, the contractor must obtain proof of the subcontractor’s coverage. A contractor that fails to obtain evidence of coverage from its subcontractor may be held liable for any work related conditions sustained by the subcontractor’s employees.

EMPLOYEES

For purposes of determining whether an employer must obtain WCL coverage, the term “employee” generally includes any person who is paid to perform work under any appointment or contract for hire or apprenticeship, regardless of whether the employment is lawful.

NOT EMPLOYEES

Certain types of workers are not considered employees under the WCL. Specifically, an employer is not required to

provide coverage for:

  • Independent contractors who are not engaged in the construction industry (as long as they meet certain criteria)
  • Real estate licensees who are paid solely by commission
  • Bands, orchestras and musical and theatrical performers who perform under a written contract evidencing an independent contractor relationship
  • Certain owner-operators of a motor vehicle who transport property under written contracts with a motor carrier
  • Individuals whose work is anticipated to be completed in 10 working days or less, at a total labor cost of less than $500, and is not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of the employer
  • Volunteer workers for an entity other than the state or a county, municipality or other governmental entity
  • Exercise riders who do not work for a single horse farm or breeder and are paid for riding on a case-by-case basis under a written contract
  • Certain taxicab, limousine and other passenger vehicle-for-hire drivers
  • Most sports officials for interscholastic or amateur sports events
  • Certain Medicaid-enrolled clients served by Adult Day Training Services under the Home and Community-Based or the Family and Supported Living Medicaid Waiver program
  • Domestic servants in a private home.
VOLUNTARY EXCLUSIONS

The WCL allows certain individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from workers’ compensation coverage requirements. Under the law, these individuals are considered employees unless they apply for and obtain a Certificate of Election to be Exempt from the DWC. The option to be exempt from coverage is available only for:

  • Corporate officers who own at least 10 percent of the corporation
  • Members of a limited liability company (LLC) who own at least 10 percent of the business.

 

Biscayne Risk & Insurance Group’s goal is to help you manage insurance costs and minimize risk.  One way of controlling Workers Compensation Costs is to keep your experience modifier low.  Some industries, such as Marine and Tree Care, face unique challenges which require specific expertise to have coverage placed.  Call us today at (561) 571-1001 to learn more about Workers Compensation for your business.

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Matthew Pitnick
mjp@biscaynerisk.com