It is not your responsibility to ensure that your employer is in compliance with Florida State laws concerning workers’ compensation coverage. However, taking some initiative in ensuring your employer is covered can make a significant difference if you are injured on the job. If you have internet access, Florida’s Department of Financial Services maintains a proof of coverage database. That link will take you to the Division of Workers’ Compensation Compliance Proof of Coverage Search Page. Entering information concerning your employer can help to determine if there is an existing workers’ compensation policy in effect.
If your employer is in the construction industry, they must obtain workers’ compensation coverage if they have 1 or more employees. If your employer is not in the construction industry, workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory if they have 4 or more employees. The issue we encounter when working to help those injured on the job occurs when an employee is injured while working for an employer who does not have workers’ compensation coverage. The employee may be under the belief that their employer has workers’ compensation coverage and might have even been told by their employer that workers’ compensation coverage is in effect. However, the truth about whether their employer has a workers’ compensation policy in effect can be a question answered too late in the event of a work place injury.
What happens more frequently now than in the past, is that employers are using payroll companies for the processing of paychecks to their employees and for obtaining workers’ compensation coverage. Employers use payroll companies because it can be more cost effective and save time. The employer pays a fee to the payroll company. The fee is based on the number of employees, the amount of the payroll, and the nature of the work being done. This fee is generally paid monthly. In exchange for payment of the fee by the employer to the payroll company, including the amount necessary to cover their payroll, the payroll company provides workers’ compensation coverage and takes care of issuing checks with all the proper deductions taken out.
Whether your employer uses a payroll company would not usually make a difference as to whether you were entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Use of a payroll company would not make the process of securing those benefits any more difficult. Unfortunately, we have found both circumstances to be the opposite. Use of payroll companies has complicated the process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for employees.
When an employer uses a payroll company, you are asked to sign a number of documents. Through signing such documents, you become an employee of the payroll company. The payroll company then leases you back to the employer. So, unless you are listed as an employee with the payroll company, you will be denied benefits for a workplace accident. This can happen when an employer tells someone they’re hired, without notifying the payroll company. The employer may not want to inform the payroll company for a number of reasons. The most common reason would be that the employer does not want the fees paid to the payroll company to increase based on a higher number of employees. So, you think you are covered because you’ve been told by the employer that “you’re hired.” The truth is that because you have not completed the paperwork necessary to become an employee with the payroll company, you don’t exist as far as they’re concerned. The payroll company will deny coverage for any workplace accident. The employer remains liable for workers’ compensation benefits, but the likelihood of having an employer pay benefits under such circumstances is so remote that pursuing a claim becomes questionable.
If you are being told that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, please contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your options. Call now – (727) 451-6900.