The state of Florida has specific laws regarding which employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance, as well as which workers are covered. Generally speaking, any business with four or more employees, whether those employees work part-time or full-time, must carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers all employees. For the purposes of workers’ compensation, business owners who are also corporate officers (non-sole proprietors) and members of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are considered to be “employees,” but sole proprietors and partners of business partnerships are not.
So, if you are an employee of a business with at least three other employees, you are covered by workers’ comp. If, however, your employer has fewer than four employees, you may not be covered.
While this is the general rule for most businesses in Florida regarding workers’ compensation coverage, the state also has industry-specific rules regarding who must provide workers’ compensation and which employees are covered. Continue reading to learn more, or call Van Dingenen Law at (407) 967-5377 for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim. We offer free initial consultations; get in touch with us today!
Construction & Agricultural Industry Workers’ Comp Requirements
Florida has specific rules for workers’ compensation coverage within the construction industry and the agricultural industry. If a construction company employs even one employee, it must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This includes the business owner if the business owner is a corporate officer; it also includes members of an LLC.
The state also clearly defines which jobs are classified as being in the construction industry. These include (but are not limited to):
- Landscapers, gardeners, and associated drivers
- Contractors/drivers who operate farm machinery
- Specialist contractors who clean and/or swab oil and gas wells
- Workers who set up, install, or hook up manufactured, prefabricated, or modular homes at building sites
- “NOC” (not otherwise classified) workers who perform welding or cutting, as well as drivers
- Workers who erect or repair oil stills
- NOC workers who erect or repair machinery/equipment, as well as drivers
- Workers install or repair steam boilers
- NOC workers who perform masonry work
- Various iron and steel workers
- Door and window installers (residential and commercial)
- Workers who erect or repair elevators
- Plumbers and drivers
- Workers who perform concrete work
- Workers who install, repair, or construct swimming pools
- Workers who perform asbestos removal operations
- Painters and paint shop operators/drivers
- Street and/or road construction workers
This is not a complete list; you can view the full list of designated construction industry workers here.
Additionally, contractors across all industries in Florida must make sure that subcontractors have the appropriate and/or required workers’ compensation insurance coverage prior to beginning any work on a project. If the subcontractor does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the contractor will be responsible for paying benefits if an employee is injured.
In addition to special rules for the construction industry, Florida also has specific workers’ compensation rules when it comes to the agricultural industry. Agricultural businesses must carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have 6 or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal workers. In order to qualify, seasonal workers must work for the employer for more than 30 days during a single season, but not more than 45 days in a single calendar year.
Are Independent Contractors Covered by Workers’ Comp in Florida?
The short answer: no. Independent contractors are not considered “employees” and, therefore, are not covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In order to be considered an independent contractor according to Florida law, one must pass the “right to control” test. This test includes things like how much control the employer has over the details of the work performed, including how it is performed. It also looks at whether the worker is normally engaged in independent work that is the same as or similar to the work being performed, how much supervision the employer exerts over the worker, whether the worker is responsible for supplying his or her own tools and/or equipment, if the work performed is outside the normal scope of the business’s typical operations, and more.
In some cases, an employee may be misclassified as an independent contractor. This could be an honest mistake on the part of the employer but, in many cases, it is an intentional misclassification. An employer may misclassify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid having to purchase workers’ compensation insurance and provide benefits to injured workers.