Florida

Buying workers’ compensation for:

Florida

State Fund: No

Insurance Coverage Requirements: Workers’ Compensation is compulsory in Florida, although some waivers are permitted.

Who is Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Non-Construction Industry: An employer in the non-construction industry, who employs 4 or more part- or full-time employees, must obtain workers’ compensation coverage. Corporate officers are considered employees, unless they elect to exempt themselves from the coverage requirements of Chapter 440. Sole proprietors and partners in the non-construction industry are not considered to be employees unless they elect to be employees.

Construction Industry: An employer in the construction industry who employs 1 or more part- or full-time employees must obtain workers’ compensation coverage. Sole proprietors, partners, and corporate officers are considered employees. In the construction industry only, members of a limited liability company are considered corporate officers. Corporate officers may elect to be exempt, however, in the construction industry, no more than three corporate officers may be exempt, and each must demonstrate at least 10% ownership.

A construction industry contractor, who sub-contracts all or part of their work, must obtain proof of workers’ compensation coverage or a Certificate of Election to be Exempt from all sub-contractors, prior to work being done. If the sub-contractor is not covered or exempt, for purposes of workers’ compensation coverage, the sub-contractor’s employees shall become the employees of the contractor. The contractor will be responsible to pay any worker’s compensation benefits to the sub-contractor and its employees.

Out of State Employers: Any employer who has employees engaged in work in Florida must obtain a Florida policy or endorsement which utilizes Florida class codes, rates, rules, and manuals that are in compliance with and approved under the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Florida Insurance Code.

Any out of state construction industry employer having one or more part- or full-time employees performing work in Florida is required to obtain a Florida policy through a Florida-licensed insurance company. If the construction industry employer has an out-of-state policy, the insurance company must be licensed in Florida, and Florida must be listed in Section 3A of the policy.

There are special provisions in the Workers’ Compensation law which relate to coverage of law enforcement officials and firefighters, and there are certain types of employees which need not be provided with workers’ compensation coverage, such as domestic workers, certain agricultural laborers, professional athletes, casual employees, and certain volunteers. (See Employment Defined and Employee Defined).

Agricultural Industry: Agricultural employers with five or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees, who work for more than 30 days, must obtain workers’ compensation liability coverage for those employees.

Workers’ compensation insurance coverage can be obtained for all excluded employees if the employer so chooses to purchase the insurance. If coverage is purchased, the statutory exclusion is waived and the affected employee is then fully covered as if no exclusion ever existed.

Factors that Impact Coverage

  • You are a sole proprietor or partner: In Florida, you are excluded from coverage but have the option to be included. Sole proprietors and partners in the construction industry must be covered by a workers’ compensation policy.
  • You are a corporate officer or member of an LLC: Florida includes you in coverage, but you have the option to include yourself.
  • You are a corporate officer or member of an LLC in the construction industry: Up to three officers can opt out of coverage if each owns at least 10% of the business.

Failure to Secure Compensation

Every employer who fails to secure the payment of compensation, as provided in s. 440.10, by failing to meet the requirements of s. 440.38 may not, in any suit brought against him or her by an employee subject to this chapter to recover damages for injury or death, defend such a suit on the grounds that the injury was caused by the negligence of a fellow servant, that the employee assumed the risk of his or her employment, or that the injury was due to the comparative negligence of the employee.

The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation is responsible for enforcing employer compliance with the coverage requirements of the workers’ compensation law. Compliance investigators have the authority to enter and inspect any place of business for purposes of ensuring employer compliance with workers’ compensation law. Investigators can also request an employer’s business records. An employer must produce the required business records within five business days of receiving the Division’s written request for records.

Stop Work Orders: Whenever the department determines that an employer who is required to secure the workers’ compensation coverage required, such failure shall be deemed an immediate serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare sufficient to justify service by the department of a stop-work order on the employer, requiring the cessation of all business operations. If the department makes such a determination, the department shall issue a stop-work order within 72 hours.

A Stop-Work Order can be issued when an employer who is required to secure Florida workers’ compensation coverage fails to do so; when the employer fails to provide records requested by the Division of Workers’ Compensation within five business days of request; when an employer understates or conceals payroll, misrepresents or conceals employee duties or fails to utilize Florida’s class codes and workers’ compensation rates.

If an employer conducts business operations in violation of a stop-work order, the employer shall be assessed an additional penalty of $1,000 per day for each day of violation.

A Stop Order May Be Released when an employer provides proof of compliance and pays the assessed monetary penalty, or pays the required down payment and enters into a payment agreement with the Division.

Penalties: In addition to any stop-work order, or injunction, the department will assess a penalty. The penalty is a minimum of $1,000 and is based on the insurance premiums which should have been paid, but were not (evaded premium), multiplied by 1.5 for the prior three years.

Proof of Coverage is Required

The law requires every employer who has secured workers’ compensation coverage to post, in a conspicuous location, the poster developed by the Division of Workers’ Compensation (Broken Arm poster).

The following information must be included on the compensation notice if the employer is insured through a commercial insurer;

(a) The name and address of the employer; and
(b) The name and address of the insurer, the employer’s current workers’ compensation insurance policy number, the effective date of coverage of that policy and the expiration date of the policy.

The following information must be included on the compensation notice if the employer is self-insured through a self-insurance fund:

(a) The name and address of the employer;
(b) The name of self-insurers fund to which the employer belongs;
(c) The employer’s membership number;
(d) The effective date of coverage; and
(e) The service agent employer’s account number.

The compensation notice may also include such other information, in addition to information required above, as the insurer or self-insurance fund may desire concerning accident reports, the names of physicians, or other pertinent information.

The compensation notice must be printed on paper or cardboard stock 11 inches by 17 inches.

Per the Division of Workers’ Compensation, there is no penalty for failing to post the Broken Arm poster.

If an employer outside the construction industry with fewer than four employees chooses not to secure the workers’ compensation coverage, he must post clear written notice in a conspicuous location at each work site telling the employees and others of their lack of entitlement to workers’ compensation.

There is no Division mandated form for this notice. It must simply state that the employer is not required to secure workers’ compensation coverage and that the employer does not have coverage.

The employer must also post the Anti-Fraud poster.

Independent Contractors

Mistakenly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in significant fines and penalties.

View 20 factors used by the IRS and our independent contractor questionnaire to determine whether you have enough control over a worker to be an employer.

Other Tips

If your insured employs workers in multiple states or your insured’s employees are temporarily working out-of-state, they need to purchase insurance for all the states where their workers are located, according to each state’s laws. Call 1-800-476-2948 and let us walk you through it.

The nature of your insured’s business, number of employees being covered and past coverage and claims are all factors in how much their premium will cost.