There’s a new workers’ compensation bill in the Florida Senate, and if it is enacted, it will make some serious changes. It’s argued that the changes will do a few things, including make sure that businesses are not shut down needlessly when it’s discovered that they are not carrying insurance, and it will offer tougher penalties as is increases the actual fine multiplier from 1.5 times to 2 times.
If you believe or have discovered that your place of employment is in violation of Florida’s workers’ comp statutes, then you may file a complaint with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. This state agency coordinates efforts, enforces regulations, and offers information regarding workers’ comp.
Workers’ Comp Regulations
In the State of Florida, companies that employee four or more full-time workers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions and variables do apply. All construction related companies with one or more full-time employees must have insurance. The agricultural industry is also governed by different guidelines. In this industry, workers’ compensation insurance is required if someone has five or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal workers who work more than 30 days.
Companies that do not carry the required insurance face high fines and other penalties, including stop-work orders.
The billthat is before the Florida State Senate, which is HB 271, allows companies to make a down payment of just $1,000 on their fine, to develop a payment plan for the remainder of the fine of be paid, and to arrange for insurance coverage. The thought is that this will allow businesses to continue to function while also permitting companies to align themselves with the law.
In the past, businesses have had five days to respond to the state’s request for records related to workers’ comp. With the new law, they will have 10. If the records are not received in that time, a stop work order would be issued. If a company pays the $1,000 down, agrees to a payment plan, and moves towards purchasing workers’ comp insurance, they will be given a release from their stop work order from the Department of Financial Services.
Another major change involves reducing from three to two years the amount of time investigators could review a company’s records for not having enough workers’ compensation insurance. As mentioned earlier, the other major change has to do with increasing the multiplier for penalties levied from 1.5 to 2.
Florida Workers Compensation Law
The State of Florida is keenly aware of the numerous problems associated with businesses that do not pay their fair share of worker’s comp insurance. If you have a business that meets the stated guidelines listed above for workers’ comp, it will save you money in the long run to simply conform to the law. If it’s discovered that you are not adhering to state workers’ comp statutes, then you stand to lose a lot in dealing with the issue, and your business could be shut down until you conform to the law and make the necessary arrangements to pay for insurance and to address your fines.