Fla. Advises Construction Industry: Apply for New Workers’ Comp Exemptions by Nov. 30

November 13, 2003

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher has urged current workers’ compensation exemption-holders in the construction industry to take the necessary steps to file for a new exemption by Nov. 30. All current construction exemptions will expire on Jan. 1, 2004.

“Employers in the construction industry who now hold exemptions should be aware that all current exemptions will expire January 1, 2004, due to legislation passed in May,” Gallagher said. “We are assisting those employers in taking the appropriate action to either secure a new exemption or to obtain workers’ compensation coverage.”

The Florida Department of Financial Services has sent additional notifications to affected businesses regarding the Jan. 1, 2004, deadline and recent legislative changes to the original reforms passed in May.

Under the new legislation, passed during a recent special session, individuals now have the option of becoming a member of a limited liability company and qualifying for an exemption by having at least a 10 percent ownership in the company. Exemptions are limited to three officers. Individuals are no longer required to incorporate to maintain their exemption.

Businesses choosing to incorporate may exempt no more than three corporate officers who hold at least a 10 percent share in the company. The business must also be registered with the Department of State’s Division of Corporations.

Approximately 130,000 current exemption-holders must complete a new application to receive an exemption. The department mailed applications to current exemption-holders in September and copies are also available on the department’s Web site at www.fldfs.com/wc .

In addition, the new changes affect the licensing process at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
About 35,000 roofers, plumbers, electricians and other general contractors, who hold professional licenses with DBPR, are now required to obtain approval for a change of status for their new corporations or limited liability companies by July 1, 2004.

However, businesses are urged to file for this change of status as soon as possible. This provision does not alter the deadline by which all construction exemptions expire. Qualified businesses must either secure a new exemption by applying to the Department of Financial Services or purchase workers’ compensation coverage by Jan. 1, 2004.

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