Running a construction business without workers’ compensation will cost you. In the state of Florida, construction companies with one or more employees are required to obtain workers’ compensation, or else, face liabilities and penalties. Failing to secure coverage is a serious offense that will result in a Stop-Work Order which is issued by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. The division conducts thousands of on-site investigations on construction sites annually based on allegations of noncompliance. The first part of this article will cover workers’ compensation, violations, and penalties. To learn more about Stop-Work Orders, read Part 2.
What Are the Requirements
Under Florida Statutes, Section 440, workers’ compensation requirements for construction professionals are as follows:
- Construction employers must request evidence of workers’ compensation from contractors on behalf of their own subcontractors.
- Contractors must confirm that their subcontractors have provided coverage for their own workers or else face liability for benefits if a worker is injured.
- Subcontractors are responsible for obtaining coverage for the workers they hire for construction projects.
- Independent contractors are not recognized as independent according to workers’ comp law. Contractors are either classified as a business owner or an employee and must prove that they are independent if necessary.
What’s Considered a Violation?
Violating workers’ comp law is serious and can result in criminal violations. Be sure you aren’t guilty of the following violations:
- Failing to secure workers’ comp coverage
- Violating a Stop-Work Order
- Not reporting injuries to an insurance provider
- Retaliating against a worker that files a claim
- Misclassifying employees or deducting coverage premiums from employees’ pay
- Intentionally falsifying insurance coverage information
If you are in violation, one of our attorneys for employers in Tampa can provide you with sound legal advice to ensure you get your construction business back on track.
Noncompliance comes with substantial penalties that range from a thousand to millions of dollars. Work stoppage fees and penalties start at $1000 per day and can involve an assessed penalty of two times what an employer would normally pay for a premium period for all uncovered periods dating two years back. Additionally, an employer can be held liable for up to $5000 per employee that is classified as an independent contractor. The records you keep are vital so before submitting any records, consult with an employer defense attorney in Tampa if you want to pursue lowering a penalty or challenge one. If you feel a penalty is harsh or invalid, remember, responding to a penalty amount within 21 days in critical.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.