2021 Florida Workers’ Compensation Legislation

Written by: Rayford H. Taylor Esq.

The Florida Legislature began its annual session on March 2, 2021 and will conclude on April 30, 2021, absent any extensions.  There have been three bills introduced thus far which seeks to amend Chapter 440 Fla. Stat., which is Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Statute.

Senate Bill 1458 and House Bill 1305 are companion bills addressing workers’ compensation insurance for subcontractors that utilize employee leasing companies.  The bills specify that a person is deemed to be an employee of an employee leasing company when hired by a subcontractor or the leasing company in the construction field.  A subcontractor which uses an employee leasing company must also purchase workers’ compensation insurance for its non-leased employees unless all persons working for the subcontractor are covered by the employee leasing company.

The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Banking and Insurance, Commerce and Tourism, and Rules Committees.  As of today’s date, the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.  The House version of the bill has been referred to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, the State Administration and Technology Subcommittee, and the full Commerce Committee.  It has also not yet been scheduled for any hearings.

The other legislation that has been introduced is Senate Bill 1724 which amends various provisions of Chapter 440 to require additional specificity requirements as it relates to Petitions for Benefits.  It also requires a claimant to sign a notice relating to attorneys’ fees paid by a claimant.  The bill also requires attorneys’ fees be directly allocated to the benefit achieved by claimant’s counsel prior to payment.

SB 1724 does not presently have a House companion.  The Senate version has been referred to the Senate Banking and Insurance, Judiciary, and Rules Committees.  It has not been scheduled for a hearing.  This particular legislation would provide some needed specificity regarding claims.  It will likely become controversial and, without a House bill as its companion, may not make it through the legislative process.  There is still time for a similar bill to be filed in the House of Representatives.

Workers’ compensation legislation in Florida has always been a highly controversial subject and faces intense scrutiny by the various entities interested in Florida’s law.  We will continue to monitor the progress of these Bills during the remainder of this legislative session.

For more information concerning this legislation, please contact attorney Rayford Taylor, Esq., at (404) 954-6949, or send an e-mail to rtaylor@hallboothsmith.com.

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