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Updated: June 13, 2024

Workers’ compensation insurance protects Florida employees and employers

Published By:

Jon Davis

This image appears in an article on Florida's workers' compensation requirements.

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Most employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. We go into all the details to help businesses better understand what it covers and how to stay compliant.

What should Florida employers know about workers’ compensation?

First and foremost, workers’ compensation helps protect both businesses and their employees from financial loss if an employee gets hurt while on the job or becomes sick because of a work-related incident. In most cases, this type of insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs for employees who are injured or become ill while on the job. In addition, employers can rest assured with coverage, as it generally protects them from lawsuits filed by employees related to work-related injuries or illnesses.

Are all Florida employers required to provide workers’ compensation insurance?

Employers with as few as one (1) to four (4) or more employees conducting work in the State of Florida are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Specific employer coverage requirements are based on the type of industry, number of employees, and entity organization.

 

Construction businesses

Construction businesses of all sizes, even those with just one employee, are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for every employee, including contractors they hire. In some cases, a construction company may be able to exempt up to three corporate officers if each can demonstrate ownership of at least 10% of the company. In addition, contractors are responsible for ensuring that their subcontractor provides coverage for their workers.

 

Agricultural employers

Agricultural businesses with six (6) or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees that work for more than 30 days (but no more than a total of 45 days in a calendar year) are also required to provide coverage.

 

Exemptions

There are a few exemptions for businesses and employees who may not require workers’ compensation coverage in Florida. For instance, sole proprietors and partnerships can go without workers’ compensation coverage by filing for a certificate of election to be exempt.

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Buying workers’ comp insurance in Florida

There’s different ways that employers may obtain workers’ compensation coverage in the sunshine state.

  • A workers’ compensation insurance carrier
  • An employee leasing arrangement with a professional employer organization (PEO) that has secured workers’ compensation coverage on behalf of its clients
  • Self-insurance (individual or commercial)

​​In addition to compliance resources, we have tools that employers can use. For example, our free Florida payroll calculator makes it simple to figure out withholdings and deductions for any type of payment.

What can happen if a Florida employer fails to furnish workers’ compensation?

There can be some undesirable outcomes if an employer does not have a workers’ compensation policy. For instance, failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance can result in a stop-work order that requires all operations to cease until a company is compliant and all penalties are paid. An employer that violates a stop-work order can face penalties of $1,000 per day from the Florida Department of Workers’ Compensation.

 

If a company does not have a policy, a penalty fee is typically two times the amount the business would have had to pay in insurance premiums over the previous two years.

 

Keep in mind that the employer is responsible to pay the entire premium for workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and employees do not share the costs. This detail is spelled out in Florida’s workers’ comp act.

 

When should an employee report an incident to me?

Employees should report any work-related incident to you immediately after it happens. However, if the worker does not communicate this information immediately after the incident occurs, most injuries must be reported within 30 days, according to Florida Statutes Section 440.185.

More resources for Florida employers

If you would like additional information, below are additional resources to help you understand how workers’ compensation works in the state of Florida.

 

Workers’ comp helps with compliance

Having a workers’ compensation policy helps your business stay compliant in Florida, and it’s also the type of coverage that can make a big difference for you and your team. Workers can rest easy knowing that they will be taken care of in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses. And in the vast majority of cases, business owners are protected from litigation due to on-the-job accidents involving employee illness or injury. If you have any questions or need assistance setting up a workers’ compensation policy for your company, we’re here to help.

 

Please note all material in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute tax, benefits or legal advice. You should always contact a qualified tax, legal or financial professional, in your area for comprehensive tax or legal advice.

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Jon Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.