Florida Workers Compensation Basics 101

 
In Florida, every employer who has four or more employees, whether full time or part time, is required to carry workers compensation insurance. Corporate officers who have elected to exempt themselves from work comp coverage do not count as an employee, however. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule.
 
 
If you are in the construction industry and have one or more employees, you are required to have work comp coverage. Florida farmers who have more than five regular employees, or twelve or more seasonal workers who are employed for 30 days or more, are required to have work comp coverage.(WCxKit)
 
 
4 Ways to Obtain Coverage:
To obtain workers compensation coverage in Florida, the employer has several options including:

1.     
Purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from a state-approved insurance company.

2.     
Qualifying as an approved self-insured employer.

3.     
Contracting with a professional employer organization (employee leasing) that has a group workers compensation policy.

4.     
Purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from the Joint Underwriting Association, a Florida state agency that sales workers compensation insurance coverage to employers who are unable to obtain coverage in the open market.
 
 
Claim Reporting:
The employee must report the injury to the employer within 30 days of the occurrence. If the injury is not reported in a timely manner, the insurance carrier has the option to deny the claim. The employer is under a strict time limit of seven days to report the claim to the insurance carrier. The insurance company then has three days to send an informational brochure to the employee outlining the employee's rights and responsibilities under the workers compensation statutes.
 
 
Medical Benefits:
The employer selects and authorizes the initial medical provider. All subsequent medical treatment must be at a medical provider approved and authorized by the workers compensation insurance carrier. All authorized medical care and associated expenses (prescriptions, prostheses, mileage reimbursements) are covered by workers compensation.
 
 
Temporary Total Disability Benefits:
The temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage over the 13 weeks prior to the injury, not counting the week the injury occurred. The maximum amount of TTD benefits that can be paid weekly changes every Jan. 1. The maximum TTD benefits per week for accidents occurring in 2010, was $772. The maximum TTD benefits per week for 2011 is $782. The state minimum weekly benefit is $20, which has not changed since 1972.
 
 
The first 7 days of disability (the waiting period) is not paid to the injured employee unless the employee is disabled for more than 21 days. TTD benefits can be paid for a maximum of 104 weeks. There is no provision in Florida law that requires the employer to hold open a job for an employee who is unable to work. (Holding the position for the employee is the smart thing for the employer to do in most cases.)
 
 
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits:
Florida work comp also provided for temporary partial disability (TPD). An employee will receive TPD if the medical provider releases the employee to work with restrictions on the number of hours the employee can work. If the employee is unable to earn 80 percent of his wages prior to the injury, the insurance carrier will pay TPD benefits on the hours the employee is unable to work per week.
 
 
This is when the employee has been released by the authorized treating physician to return to work in any capacity. The payment is then 80 percent of the difference between 80 percent of the employee's AWW and earnings. This is referred to as the 80/80 formula. If work is available within the employee's restrictions and the employee does not return to work then no benefits are payable.
 
 
Impairment Benefits:
When an employee reaches maximum medical improvement, the medical provider will determine whether or not the employee has any permanent partial disability. If the employee receives a permanent impairment rating, a scale is used to establish the number of weeks of compensation the employee is entitled to.
 
 
The employee will receive:
1.      Two weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 1 percent through 10 percent
2.      Three weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 11 percent through 15 percent
3.      Four weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 16 percent through 20 percent
4.      Six weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 21 percent and up.
 
 
If the employee is earning the pre-injury wage or higher, the benefits are reduced by 50 percent.
 
 
Permanent Total Disability Benefits:
Florida has a unique way of determining if an employee who has reached maximum medical improvement has a permanent total disability (PTD). If the employee can be placed in a sedentary job within 50 miles of his residence, the employee is not PTD, unless he has a severe injury as defined by the Florida work comp statutes.
 
 
Some of the severe injuries include spinal cord injuries that involve paralysis of an arm, leg or the trunk; amputation of a hand, arm, foot, or leg; severe brain injury; and, second or third degree burns over 25 percent of more of the body. If the employee is classified by the Division of Workers Compensation as PTD, the employee will receive PTD benefits which are the same as TTD benefits until the age of 75. If an employee is drawing social security benefits, the PTD benefits are reduced to the point where the social security benefit plus the PTD benefit equals 80 percent of the average weekly wage earned prior to the injury.
 
 
Death Benefits:
If an employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident within one year of the date of the accident, or if the employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident within five years with continuous disability, funeral expenses up to $7,500 is covered by workers compensation. The spouse is entitled to 50 percent of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $782.00 (for calendar year 2011).
 
 
The spouse plus one child is entitled to two-thirds of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $782 (year 2011). If the employee leaves behind one child as the only beneficiary of death benefits, the child receives one-third of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $782 (year 2011). There is no time limit on how long benefits can be paid, but the maximum amount of death benefits is $150,000 (not including funeral expenses). If the spouse remarries, the spouse receives a lump sum payment of 26 weeks as long as the $150,000 cap is not exceeded. The spouse is also eligible for tuition benefits at a vocational technical center or community college.(WCxKit)
 
 
Vocational Benefits:
If, due to the employee's on-the-job injury, the employee is unable to return to work because of permanent work restrictions, the employee is entitled to assistance from the Workers Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation Section of the Florida Department of Education. At no cost to the employee, the employee can receive vocational counseling, transferable skill analysis, training on job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training, and formal retraining.

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Obese Worker Injuries Often Require More Care

A new report from Florida-based NCCI Holdings Inc. notes that injuries sustained by obese workers often lead to substantially more medical care and are more apt to become permanent disabilities than similar injuries suffered by employees who are not obese.
 
 
“How Obesity Increasesthe Risk of Disabling Workplace Injuries,” reports on differences in treatment patterns between a sample of more than 7,000 claims with obesity as a secondary diagnosis and an additional 20,000 claims with nearly identical demographic characteristics but lacking an obesity diagnosis. (WCxKit)
 
 
The incidence of obesity is expanding globally. In the United States, the incidence of obesity is the largest of all reporting countries and the trend continues unabated. Intuitively, the implications of this trend for workers compensation are not good.
 
 
The variety of medical treatments, expenses and duration are generally, but not always, higher for obese claimants, researchers found.
 
 
In looking at shoulder and arm sprains, the study discovered that “the obese claim is significantly more costly due to an entire range of treatments including physical therapy and complex surgery that the non-obese claim did not incur.” (WCxKit)
 
 
Essentially, the non-obese claim had only an office visit, X-ray and drug treatment the day of the injury and a follow-up office visit the next day,” the study reports. “In total, the non-obese claim had four treatments, while the obese claim had more than 75. A major cost driver for the obese claim was complex surgery.”
 
The study is available at www.ncci.com.
 

Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Study of Supervisors Misdeeds Impact on Employee Health and Productivity

In recent years, the American workplace has been infused with unprecedented levels of hostility — and much of that is due to the deterioration of supervisor-subordinate trust, according to Florida State University researchers.
 
 

To better understand
this deteriorating relationship, Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in Florida States College of Business, and research associate Christian Ponder questioned more than 750 mid-level employees to report how often they personally experienced their direct supervisors “Seven Deadly Sins” — wrath/anger, greed, laziness/sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony — at work. (WCxKit)
 
 

The Seven Deadly Sins
is a classification of objectionable behaviors that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers as it relates to humanity’s tendency to sin.
 
 

We choose these particular behaviorsbecause they have an established history, are familiar to people in both religious and secular settings, and are documented to strain interpersonal relationships at work,” Hochwarter said.
 

Results indicate
malevolent supervisor behaviors in excess of what many might expect:
 

1.     
26 percent of employees said their boss frequently has trouble managing his or her anger (wrath);
 

2.     
27 percent of employees said their boss vigorously pursues undeserved rewards (greed);
 

3.     
 41 percent of employees said their boss habitually pushes work on to others rather than doing it himself or herself (laziness);
 

4.     
31 percent of employees said their boss regularly seeks undeserved admiration from others at work (pride);
 

5.     
33 percent of employees said their boss makes sure that others stroke his or her ego on a daily basis (lust);
 

6.     
9 percent of employees said their boss can be counted on to act enviously toward others who experience good things (jealous); and
 

7.     
23 percent of employees said that their boss purposefully hoards resources that could be useful to others at work (gluttony).
 
 

Without question
, the most frequently reported leader behaviors across genders, industry sectors, and levels of responsibility were pride and laziness. Of little surprise: Results indicated a variety of negative employee outcomes associated with supervisors’ aberrant behavior, including impaired work productivity and poorer heath.
 
 

Employees with leaders who committed these ‘sins’ contributed less effort (40 percent less), felt overloaded as a result of forced responsibility for their supervisor’s work (33 percent more), were less likely to make creative suggestions (66 percent less), and received fewer resources to effectively do their job (60 percent less) than those without this negative type of leadership,” Ponder said.
 
 

Also, victims of supervisors
self-serving behavior spent considerably more time at work pursuing alternative job opportunities (75 percent more).
 
 

In terms of deteriorating health
, victimized workers experienced more daily anxiety (50 percent more), less happiness in life (30 percent less), more physical and emotional exhaustion (45 percent more), and more gloominess while on the job (62 percent more).
 
 

According to the researchers
, the good news is that there still are more considerate managers than selfish ones. However, it is evident that recession-based uncertainty has encouraged many business leaders to pursue self-serving behaviors at the expense of those that are considered mutually beneficial or supportive of organizational goals.
 
 

It is always interesting to see how people react when they feel that their backs are against the wall,” Ponder commented. “Some leaders try to rally the troops, while others decide to go it alone to safeguard what they feel they have.” Perhaps when the cloud of recession fully lifts and job environments become more stable, leaders will focus on employee development rather than self-preservation, he noted.

However, since
progress is viewed only in the distant horizon by many experts, employees at all supervisory levels must develop the skills to peacefully co-exist. (WCxKit)
 
 
The consequences of not doing so are increasingly fatal for organizations,” added Hochwarter.

 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com 

 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Florida Workers Compensation Basics 101

Workers Compensation Laws change frequently. This is only a summary; a complete copy of the most up-to-date version can be found at: www.WorkCompResearch.com an excellent service.

In Florida, every employer who has four or more employees, whether full time or part time is required to carry workers compensation insurance. [Corporate officers who have elected to exempt themselves from work comp coverage do not count as an employee]. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If you are in the construction industry and have one or more employees, you are required to have work comp coverage. Florida farmers who have more than five regular employees, or twelve or more seasonal workers who are employed for 30 days or more, are required to have work comp coverage.
 
Obtaining Coverage:
To obtain workers compensation coverage in Florida, the employer has several options including:
1.      purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from a state approved insurance company
2.      qualifying as an approved self-insured employer
3.      contracting with a professional employer organization [employee leasing] that has a group workers compensation policy
4.      purchasing a workers compensation insurance policy from the Joint Underwriting Association, a Florida state agency that sales workers compensation insurance  coverage to employers who are unable to obtain coverage in the open market (WCxKit)
 
Claim Reporting:
The employee must report the injury to the employer within 30 days of the occurrence. If the injury is not reported timely, the insurance carrier has the option to deny the claim. The employer is under a strict time limit of 7 days to report the claim to the insurance carrier. The insurance company then has 3 days to send to the employee an informational brochure which outlines the employees rights and responsibilities under the workers compensation statutes.
 
Medical Benefits:
The employer selects and authorizes the initial medical provider. All subsequent medical treatment must be at a medical provider approved and authorized by the workers compensation insurance carrier. All authorized medical care and associated expenses (prescriptions, prostheses, mileage reimbursements) are covered by workers compensation.
 
Temporary Total Disability Benefits:
The temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the employees average weekly wage over the 13 weeks prior to the injury, not counting the week the injury occurred. The maximum amount of TTD benefits that can be paid weekly changes every January 1st. The maximum TTD benefits per week for accidents occurring on or after January 1, 2010 is $772.00 per week. The state minimum weekly benefit is $20, which has not changed since 1972.
 
The first 7 days of disability (the waiting period) is not paid to the injured employee unless the employee is disabled for more than 21 days. TTD benefits can be paid for a maximum of 104 weeks. There is no provision in the Florida law that requires the employer to hold open a job for an employee who is unable to work due to the employee being unable to work. (Holding the position for the employee is the smart thing for the employer to do in most cases).
 
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits:
Florida work comp also provided for temporary partial disability (TPD). An employee will receive TPD if the medical provider releases the employee to work with restrictions on the number of hours the employee can work. If the employee is unable to earn 80% of his wages prior to the injury, the insurance carrier will pay TPD benefits on the hours the employee is unable to work per week.
 
Impairment Benefits:
When an employee reaches maximum medical improvement, the medical provider will determine whether or not the employee has any permanent partial disability. If the employee receives a disability rating, the employee is entitled to Impairment Benefits (IB).   The amount of IB is one-fourth of the TTD rate plus 1 cent. For example if the weekly TTD rate is $600.00, the IB rate would be $150.01. The number of weeks of IB is determined by a disability scale. A 10% rating on the scale is worth 20 weeks of IB; a 25% rating is worth 85 weeks of IB, while a 50% rating is worth 235 weeks of IB.
 
Permanent Total Disability Benefits:
Florida has a unique way of determining if an employee who has reached maximum medical improvement has a permanent total disability (PTD). If the employee can be placed in a sedentary job within 50 miles of his residence, the employee is not PTD, unless he has a severe injury as defined by the Florida work comp statutes. Some of the severe injuries include spinal cord injuries that involve paralysis of an arm, leg or the trunk; amputation of a hand, arm, foot or leg; severe brain injury; and, second or third degree burns over 25% of more of the body. If the employee is classified by the Division of Workers Compensation as PTD, the employee will receive PTD benefits which are the same as TTD benefits until the age of 75. If an employee is drawing social security benefits, the PTD benefits are reduced to the point where the social security benefit plus the PTD benefit equals 80% of the average weekly wage earned prior to the injury.
 
Death Benefits:
If an employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident within one year of the date of the accident, or if the employee dies as a result of an on-the-job accident within five years with continuous disability, funeral expenses up to $7,500 is covered by workers compensation. The spouse is entitled to 50% of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $772.00 (for calendar year 2010). The spouse plus one child is entitled to two-thirds of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $772 (year 2010).   If the employee leaves behind one child as the only beneficiary of death benefits, the child receives one-third of the average weekly wage, not to exceed $772 (year 2010). There is no time limit on how long benefits can be paid, but the maximum amount of death benefits is $150,000 (not including funeral expenses). If the spouse remarries, the spouse receives a lump sum payment of 26 weeks (as long as the $150,000 cap is not exceeded. The spouse is also eligible for tuition benefits at a vocational technical center or community college. (WCxKit)
 
 Vocational Benefits:
If due to the employees on-the-job injury the employee is unable to return to work because of permanent work restrictions, the employee is entitled to assistance from the Workers Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation Section of the Florida Department of Education. At no cost to the employee, the employee can receive vocational counseling, transferable skill analysis, training on job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training and formal retraining. 

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
Contact: 
RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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