Florida leads the way in protecting independent contractors and employers with the signing of Senate Bill 542 into law. In its adoption, this law allows employers to aid independent contractors in times of declared emergency without the threat of creating an employee-employer relationship that could otherwise later be used to bring a civil action against the employer.
In effect as of July 1, 2022, the law addresses actions toward “engaged individuals”, meaning anyone “who provides a good or service to a business or on behalf of a business and who is remunerated for the good or service, regardless of the individual’s classification as an employee or independent contractor”. This classification enables employers to:
- “Provide financial assistance to their engaged individuals who are unable to work due to health and safety concerns;”
- “Directly provide health and safety benefits to their engaged individuals;”
- “Provide health or safety training to their engaged individuals or the public”
- “Take any action intended to protect the health and safety of engaged individuals”.
This law is applicable when a State Health Officer declares a public health emergency, or the Governor declares a state of emergency. Continue to treat independent contractors appropriately when a health emergency has not been declared.