Every state in the United States enacts its own workers’ comp law, and the state of Florida is no different. In the State of Florida, most businesses with four or more employees are mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

This insurance policy provides legal protection to employees when they suffer injury or illness as a result of their job. Once a claim is submitted, workers’ compensation guarantees that the employee’s medical treatment or rehabilitation is paid.

Workers’ compensation is, without doubt, a very important aspect of small business insurance especially since it can cover medical bills, recovery costs, and partial missed wages if an employee is injured at work. In addition, it can help with funeral costs and benefits in the event of a fatality on the job.

By mandating this insurance coverage, Florida officials offer an incentive for businesses to keep employees safe. The Florida workers’ compensation system has been massively debated over the past few years, as lawmakers and work comp regulators seek ways to control insurance costs.

In Florida, workers’ compensation laws tend to apply just to businesses with four or more employees. Note that smaller businesses may be exempt from the state’s workers’ compensation laws, and injured employees would have to seek damages for medical care or lost wages through another avenue.

Requirements for Workers Compensation Insurance in Florida

Employers doing business in the State of Florida are expected to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Have in mind that specific employer coverage requirements are based on the type of industry, number of employees, and entity organization.

To understand the coverage requirements for a specific employer, below is information made available by the Bureau of Compliance.

  1. Construction Industry

Note that construction businesses in the State of Florida with at least one employee are expected to have workers’ comp insurance. Note that in the construction industry, owners, corporate officers, partners, and sole proprietors are considered employees, too.

It simply entails that you will be expected to obtain workers’ comp insurance coverage as soon as you start your construction business—and definitely before you begin any projects.

According to Florida law, a company is a construction business if it partakes in the building, clearing, excavation, or carrying out any kind of major updates to a building (or any kind of land). Therefore, if your business generates revenue from any of those, then you are considered a construction company and will have to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

  1. Non-Construction Industry

For businesses that are not in the construction industry, note that you will be expected to obtain workers’ compensation insurance if you have 4 or more employees. Note that it doesn’t matter if they’re part-time or full-time, as long as you employ them, they all count in the state of Florida.

When it comes to businesses that fall within the non-construction category, sole proprietors and partners are automatically exempt from coverage.

  1. Agricultural Industry

Businesses in the agricultural industry are expected to obtain workers’ comp as long as they have 6 or more full or part-time employees—or if they have 12 or more seasonal workers (any hired help who works more than 30 days in a season, but no more than 45 days in a calendar year).

In the state of Florida, any labor carried out on a farm—or for one or more farmers—is regarded as work at an agricultural business.

This will notable jobs like harvesting and machinery operation coupled with timekeepers, checkers, and other supervisory roles. In addition, if you hire at least 6 regular employees—or if you simply hire a bunch of temporary workers for a 6-week harvest—you will need to purchase workers’ comp.

  1. Florida Subcontractors

In the state of Florida, you are not expected to obtain workers’ comp to hire or work with subcontractors. However, you will be expected to show valid proof that a particular subcontractor has obtained their own workers’ comp.

If a subcontracted worker gets injured on your project and doesn’t have their own workers’ comp policy, have it in mind that you will be tasked with making payment of benefits. When looking to work with a subcontractor in Florida, note that you will need at least one of the following:

  • A copy of the Information Page of the subcontractor’s workers’ comp insurance policy.
  • Screen capture from the Division of Workers’ Compensation validating coverage.
  • A Certificate of Liability Insurance and written documentation obtained from the insurance carrier validating that the subcontractor has workers’ comp.
  • If your subcontractor is a corporate officer, they can supply you with a Certificate of Election to Be Exempt.
  1. Independent Contractors

In the state of Florida, you are not mandated to purchase workers’ comp insurance for independent contractors, as long as their employment is casual and not associated with the primary functions of your business. For instance, if you hire someone to clean the gutters outside your office every month, you won’t be expected to cover them with workers’ comp.

However, if there is proof or evidence that the supposed independent contractor was in any way a part-time or full-time employee of your company, you could get yourself into trouble, and you could be fined $5,000 per instance for falsely representing an employee as an “independent contractor.”

  1. Out-of-State Employer

Note that the answer here will most often depend on your professional industry. For instance, if you have a construction business in another state but have one or more employees working in Florida, you will be expected to purchase a Florida workers’ comp policy.

Also, note that you will require a policy if you run a non-construction business with 4 or more Florida Workers. However, if you intend or you have already sent workers to Florida temporarily, and you come from a state with an Extraterritorial Reciprocity policy, you won’t be expected to obtain a workers’ comp policy just for Florida.