Workers' Compensation is Covered for Work Experiences and On-the-job Training
The 2018 legislature enacted laws for VR participants in a work-experience setting to be covered under workers’ compensation. Sections 413.015 and 413.209, Florida Statutes (F.S., allows participants in an adult or youth work-experience activity under either the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) or Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) be deemed as employees of the state for the purpose of workers’ compensation (WC) coverage. Simply put, VR and DBS will be responsible for paying claims for these individuals, should they occur, rather than the employer.
Originally, DBS and VR participants who were in an adult or youth work-experience activity had to rely upon the employer to pay for their WC coverage. This was often a deterrent to employment options because of a perception that individuals with disabilities are more likely to have a work-related accident that may drive up the employer’s WC premium. Additionally, youth (with or without disabilities) may often be perceived to create risk for on-the-job injuries.
The passage of sections 413.015 and 413.209, F.S., is important legislation for individuals with disabilities in Florida who want to expand their resume and skills through work experience and on-the-job training to ultimately obtain employment. While WC rates are not based on demographics of the employee, this safety net is created to encourage more employers to provide very-qualified candidates a chance to grow and increase their job skills. The law mirrors section 445.009(11), F.S., and expands work-experience opportunities for individuals with disabilities working with VR and DBS.
If your business would like to participate as a work experience site email VR at VRBusinessRep@vr.fldoe.org
or DBS at Stacy.Smith@dbs.fldoe.org.
Required Steps for Workers' Compensation Reporting
Should you as an employer, who has welcomed participants in an adult or youth work-experience activity through VR or DBS, need to report an individual’s on the job injury or illness use the following steps and links for injury reporting:
- In a medical emergency, transport the injured employee to the nearest medical facility or call 911 for emergency assistance. Following the arrangement of emergency medical treatment for the injured employee, the employer must contact AmeriSys, the WC case management vendor, at 800-455-2079.
- Otherwise, contact AmeriSys immediately and they will refer the injured employee to an appropriate medical provider. Note: This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- It is then the responsibility of the employer and VR participant to contact the VR Area WC Liaison after the accident has been reported to Amerisys. If you have not heard back from the VR Liaison within a business day, contact the VR Area Supervisor.
- All required reporting contacts and details are provided in the following links:
- Amerisys Reporting Instructions - How to and what to provide when reporting an on the job injury or illness. Be sure to indicate the following location code: 1036.
- VR Wallet-size Accident Reporting Instructions - Printable or downloadable for VR Participants quick reference in a work experience setting.
- VR Area Workers' Compensation Liaison - Contact the VR Area WC Liaison after an accident has been reported to Amerisys. If you have not heard back from your liaison within a business day, contact the VR Area Supervisor.
- State Employee Workers' Compensation and Employer's Liability Certificate of Coverage
- Claimant's Frequently Asked Questions
- Preguntas Frecuentes - Reclamante
- Employer's Frequently Asked Questions
- Preguntas Frecuentes - Empleador