Are Certain Employees Not Covered By Florida Workers’ Compensation?
For the majority of Florida workers, the ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits after an on-the-job injury is assumed. However, there are certain situations in which certain employees are exempt from (or excluded from) being able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, and if you are not careful to keep up with such exceptions, you may get a nasty shock one day if you get hurt at work. Contacting a workers’ compensation attorney can help to clarify matters if you are in this situation.
Different Industries, Different Requirements
In Florida, different industries are subject to different workers’ compensation insurance requirements. By law, if a construction business has 1 or more employees, they must carry coverage, while a non-construction or agricultural business must only carry coverage if they have 4 or more employees. The definition of ‘employee’ may also differ from industry to industry; for example, if you own a limited liability company (LLC), for example, you are considered an employee even though you are the owner.
Be advised that even if you qualify as an employee, there are certain situations when an owner may file to exempt certain employees from workers’ compensation coverage, primarily to save money on insurance rates. Most often, this is done with owners and officers of a company, after filing an official Election of Exemption with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation. This does involve a certain amount of risk to that employee, but often, the benefits are presumed to outweigh the cost.
Are You Actually An Employee?
The other major group of employees that are often excluded from workers’ compensation coverage in Florida are not actually ‘employees’ in the colloquial sense; independent contractors occupy a different role than employees. The way to differentiate the two roles is through what Florida law calls the “right of control” test. If a person:
- Is paid for their work on a “competitive bid” basis, or after the completion of a task or set of tasks as opposed to being salaried;
- Has or has applied for a federal employer ID number of their own;
- Does work for multiple employers without having to complete any kind of application; and
- Maintains their own separate premises, with their own workspace, tools, and materials;
they are generally presumed to be an independent contractor. There are other factors that can be taken into account as well, such as if someone has business bank accounts in their name for paying business expenses, or has continuing or recurring business liabilities or obligations, but the ‘right of control’ test is the primary question. The reason independent contractors are so often excluded from benefits under workers’ compensation insurance is because their independence allows them to seek other opportunities (and thus, other avenues to cover medical bills and other expenses).
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are injured at work, you are likely intending to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer – but if you are an independent contractor or other exempt employee, you may not be able to do this. Contacting an Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help to answer any questions you may have about your rights to benefits. Call us today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.