CFO Alex Sink Announces Wrap-Up of Statewide Workers’ Compensation Sweep
CONTACT: Kevin Cate or Jennifer Hirst, 850-413-2842
TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink announced today that a two-day sweep shut down 70 employers for violations of Florida's Workers' Compensation laws. As part of the statewide effort, investigators with the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Bureau of Compliance made random site visits this week including construction companies and other businesses who failed to ensure their employees were covered by the required workers’ compensation insurance.
“The safety of Floridians on the job is not to be taken lightly,” said CFO Sink. “Let this be a wake-up call to employers who would try to dodge the system by not paying their Workers’ Compensation or not paying for the proper classification of Workers’ Compensation for their employees. The construction industry in particular must ensure that employees are properly protected because of the dangerous jobs they perform, but workplace safety and adequate Workers’ Compensation Insurance is simply the right thing to do for all workers.”
During the sweep, investigators contacted more than 888 employers, visited 435 work sites and issued 70 Stop-Work Orders (SWO’s) to construction and non-construction businesses, including general contractors, subcontractors, restaurants, and medical centers who are in violation of Florida’s workers’ compensation coverage requirements. Under state law, businesses engaged in the construction industry are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage when they employ one or more employees, including the owner. Businesses engaged in the non-construction industry are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage when they employ four or more employees, excluding business owners who are exempt.
When an employer receives a SWO the business must immediately cease all operations and the SWO remains in effect until the employer obtains proper coverage and pays the assessed penalty. SWO’s are issued for violations including failure to obtain workers’ compensation coverage, under-reporting payroll such as paying employees in cash instead of payroll checks, and misclassifying employees in order to receive a lower workers’ compensation rate. For those employers who choose not to pay the assessed penalty, DWC has the authority under Section 440.107(11) of the Florida Statutes to initiate lien proceedings to collect any penalty due that has not been paid. More than 360 liens have been filed against delinquent employers since late 2009, totaling $13.7 million.
As Florida’s CFO, Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation, which has conducted nearly 30,000 onsite investigations into employer compliance this fiscal year. For more information about CFO Sink’s Division of Workers’ Compensation or to submit a complaint, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com or call (850) 413-1609.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services. A successful business leader with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO. CFO Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful spending, holding government accountable to Florida’s taxpayers, and cracking down on financial and insurance fraud.