What are Florida employers’ responsibilities when purchasing Workers Compensation? (part 2)

As discussed in our previous post, florida employers have specific responsibilities when procuring Workers Compensation insurance.  The Florida Workers’ Compensation Law (WCL) defines employer responsibilities in the workers’ compensation program. The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), which is part of the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), monitors compliance with these requirements throughout the state.  We will continue where we left off:

VOLUNTARY ELECTIONS

Other individuals are not automatically considered employees under the WCL but may voluntarily elect to provide coverage for themselves. This option is available for sole proprietors and partners of a partnership who:

  • Are not engaged in the construction industry;
  • Devote full time to the proprietorship or partnership; and
  • Elect to be included in the definition of employee by filing a Notice of Election of Coverage with the DWC.
OBTAINING COVERAGE

To satisfy the WCL’s coverage requirements, an employer must either:

RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS

All employers must maintain certain employment records that may assist the DWC in an investigation under the WCL.  Employers must keep these records up to date and maintain them for at least three calendar years at their principal places of business or job sites within the state.  Employment records that employers must maintain include:

  • Business account records (monthly, quarterly or annual)
  • Check and cash disbursement journals
  • Complete, executed and written contracts with general contractors, subcontractors, independent contractors and employment leasing companies that specify the terms of reimbursement and performance of any service
  • Documents that may assist to establish an independent contractor’s status
  • Employee leasing company, labor pool and temporary labor service records
  • Employee wage payment documents (W-2 forms, 1099 forms and individual tax statements)
  • Employment contracts and other documents that describe terms of employment
  • External and internal audit documents
  • Proof of insurance or certificates of exemption
  • Records that identify the employer’s business name, registration, business form and Federal Employer
  • Identification Number (IRSA Form 575A)
  • Records that identify the employer’s occupational and trade licenses, certifications and competency cards
  • State employment and unemployment reports
  • Subcontractor invoices
  • Tax records and all schedules filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and
  • Workers’ compensation certificates of insurance or certificates of exemption, along with notices of cancellation, non-renewal, reinstatement and the like
INJURY RECORDS

Employers must also keep a record of every work-related injury or disease sustained or reported by their employees.  These records must be kept open for the DWC’s inspection at all times.

BENEFIT PAYMENT RECORDS

Self-insured employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers must keep records of all WCL benefit payments they make. These records must include the amount, time and manner of each payment. These records must be available for inspection by the DWC or the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud at all times.

NOTICE POSTING

Employers that are subject to the WCL must display a workers’ compensation poster in conspicuous locations within their employees’ workplaces.Employers that are not subject to the WCL and have not voluntarily secured workers’ compensation coverage must also post a notice in their employees’ workplaces. This notice must clearly indicate in writing that the employer does not provide workers’ compensation coverage or benefits.

INJURY REPORTING

An employer that has knowledge of an employee’s work-related injury or disease must report it to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier within seven days. Self-insured employers and insurance carriers must report any work related conditions that result in four (or more) lost workdays to the DWC within 14 days after receiving notice.

PROHIBITED PRACTICES

Florida law prohibits employers from coercing, discharging, disciplining, taking adverse personnel action or refusing to hire any employee or applicant solely because the individual refuses to obtain an exemption, has filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or has reported a violation (or suspected violation) to appropriate authorities.

MORE INFORMATION

Contact Biscayne Risk & Insurance Group or visit the DWC website for more information on workers’ compensation laws in Florida.

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Matthew Pitnick
mjp@biscaynerisk.com