Your employees are your greatest assets. This is true no matter what type of business you are running. Without your staff, you simply could not achieve the success you already have, and the success you hope to have. Business owners have a responsibility to protect employees as well as possible.
Part of protecting workers is providing them with workers’ compensation coverage. This will ensure that if they are injured or become ill while working for you, they will be provided compensation. Compensation can cover medical expenses, legal fees, lost wages, and funeral costs, if necessary. With this coverage, employees can work confidently knowing that they are protected.
What Businesses Are Required to Have Workers’ Compensation?
The vast majority of businesses in Florida are required to have worker’s compensation coverage according to the law. Any business that has four or more employees must have a workers comp policy. That said, there are different types of coverage, and what your business needs will depend on what type of work your employees do and how many employees you have. Some businesses that have fewer than 4 employees still have to have protection because of the work they do.
Construction companies must have it regardless of how many employees they have. This is because of the nature of the work. It should be noted that even corporate officers of a construction company qualify as employees under workers’ compensation laws. They also count as employees for non-construction businesses.
For agricultural companies, workers’ compensation insurance in Florida is only required if they have at least six workers. The agricultural sector is very seasonal, so there are provisions in place for this. With these types of companies, coverage is not needed until 12 or more employees are working temporarily that work over 30 hours in a quarter. However, these employees cannot work more than 45 days during a calendar year, otherwise, they would count towards the six-employee limit.
If you operate a business out of state but have employees who work in Florida, then you are required to have workers’ compensation. If you are a contractor, then before starting a project with sub-contractors you also are required to ensure that they have workers’ compensation coverage.
Workers’ Compensation Exemptions in Florida
There are certain situations when a business may be exempt from having to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their workers. If you are a sole proprietor or have a single partner, then you do not have to have workers’ compensation if you do not wish to. To qualify for this, you must file with the Division of Workers Compensation. You can also buy worker’s compensation directly from the DWC should you wish. In fact, any corporation that is not in the construction industry can apply with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations (FDSDC) for exemption to the workers’ compensation requirements. This request must be made by a signing authority of the corporation and may not be approved.
Certain limited liability companies (LLCs) may also apply for exemptions. They must be operating outside of the construction industry, and also must apply to the FDSDC for approval. To qualify, the person requesting the exemption must own at least 10% of the LLC, and there can be no more than 10 members of the LLC who are already exempt.
If your company operates in the construction industry, you still may be able to apply for exemptions, but there are different ways to be eligible. For construction-related corporations and LLCs, an officer can apply for an exemption as long as they have 10% or more in ownership of the company, there are no more than three officers who are already exempt, and they pay the $50 fee to apply.
Workers’ Compensation in Florida
Workers’ compensation coverage is meant to protect employees who suffer injuries or illnesses while on the job. If you have coverage, they can be compensated for their medical expenses, legal fees, lost wages, and ongoing treatments to facilitate healing. Coverage does not just apply if there is an incident that leads to injury, but also for repetitive stress issues, such as tendonitis or damaged joints and muscles.
Lost wages compensation is to help the worker pay their living expenses while they are recovering. In most cases, the goal is for them to get back to work when they are physically able to do so. It can also provide compensation if they are permanently disabled and not able to return to work. In the unfortunate case where the employee passes away, workers’ compensation can assist with funeral costs.
Cost of Workers’ Compensation Coverage
How much your workers’ compensation coverage costs will depend on what type of work each employee does. It’s calculated using this formula: Workers’ classification code rate X Experience modification number X (Payroll/$100). The result will give you the premium that you will pay. The workers’ classification code rate is the rate assigned to the type of work that the employees do. You will pay your premium based on a percentage of every $100 of payroll.
Laws Behind Workers’ Compensation
The Florida State Division of Workers’ Compensation works to make sure that employers are following the laws and have the information they need to properly apply for their coverage. They also help workers if they are injured or need workers’ compensation coverage for assistance. They can also ask any questions about the program and help you determine if you are being compliant with Florida law. If you are caught not following the law, then your business could be subject to huge legal penalties.
If your employees are your best assets, then you must do everything in your power to protect them. That starts by offering a safe and welcoming place of work. However, no matter how many precautions you take and how many safety policies you have, bad things can still happen. If they do, you owe it to your workers to make sure that they can get help with lost wages, medical bills, and other costs that they might incur. Never leave your employees unprotected.