Employee V. Independent Contractor: Why The Difference Is Critical For Florida Workers’ Comp
It is a relief to know that you do not need to prove that your employer was at fault when filing for workers’ compensation, but there is still one key requirement for obtaining monetary benefits: You need to show that you qualify under the definition of employee under Florida workers’ comp laws. The statute provides that an employee includes anyone that receives remuneration for performing work or services, whether through an employment contract, employment at-will, or other arrangement. Though there are special rules for construction and certain exceptions, an independent contractor is NOT an employee – and so is not eligible for workers’ comp.
Still, the distinction between employee and independent contractor is not always clear-cut. To further clarify the definition, lawmakers included two tests for making the determination. An Ocala workers’ compensation lawyer can provide details, but you can get a general grasp by breaking down the statutory language.
Bright Line Test
If you meet at least four of the following criteria, you may be considered an independent contractor for purposes of Florida workers’ comp laws:
- You maintain and operate a separate facility, vehicles, supplies, and related attributes of a business.
- You have an FEIN or operate your business as a sole proprietorship, which means you may not need a taxpayer ID number.
- You receive payment for work as a business, rather than in your own name.
- You have a bank account in your business name and use the funds for business-related expenses.
- You work for an entity at your own election and choice, and did not complete an application, interview, background check, or other employment requirements.
- Payment to you is rendered on a bid basis or via contractual agreement, unless that agreement states that you are an employee.
“Nature of the Individual Situation” Test
Even if you do not meet four of the criteria mentioned above, you may still be considered an independent contractor based upon the circumstances surrounding your work setting. Florida’s workers’ comp statute states that you may NOT be an employee if:
- You perform services for a specific payment and have control over how you complete tasks;
- You incur and pay primary expenses connected to performing these tasks;
- You are primarily responsible for the quality and satisfactory completion of your services;
- Payment to you is on the basis of per-job or commission;
- You assume a certain amount of risk for engaging in the work, such that you could suffer a profit or loss;
- You have ongoing, recurring liabilities and/or obligations for operating your business; and
- Your business success is measured by receipts and expenditures.
Consult with a Marion County, FL Workers’ Comp Attorney
Besides being helpful for understanding the distinction between employees and independent contractors, you should note that these are the tests that workers’ comp insurance companies apply to determine whether you qualify for monetary benefits. If an insurer improperly denied your claim based upon these factors, please contact the Musleh Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. You can reach our offices in Ocala, FL by calling 352-732-0600 or visiting our website.