Unemployment Law

Or, who should be in charge for the sake of middle-class prosperity, Mr. Potter or George Bailey?

Unemployment is a key economic indicator, as the rate is tied to whether companies are hiring or laying off workers. The whole point of unemployment benefits, after all, is economic insurance for businesses so that their customers continue to have money to buy the things they need, like food and housing.
The decreased and irregular purchasing power of wage earners in turn
Continue Reading Which political party is more likely to lead to economic gains

Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Catholic Charities v. LIRC, 2024 WI 13. At issue in this case was whether the Catholic Charities entities would be exempt from paying any unemployment taxes (and their employees no longer eligible for unemployment benefits when laid off) because the Catholic Charities entities are, like churches themselves, operated for faith-based reasons.
Note: Articles on the decision have appeared in the Wisconsin Examiner, WisPolitics, and Urban Milwaukee
Continue Reading Religious Exemptions to Unemployment Taxes in 2024

The month of May is going to be eventful, as either a deal on the debt ceiling will be reached (i.e., raising it) or a massive recession and possible economic calamity will strike. Or, just maybe we will get a combination of both because a giant coin or issuance of fancy debt called premium bonds will not resolve all the worries in the world about the United States no longer paying its debts from previous expenditures.

Layoffs, whether
Continue Reading Jobs, the Debt Ceiling, and Recession

The US Dep’t of Labor has announced the beginning of an effort to modernize unemployment claim-filing to make the process both more equitable and less susceptible to fraud.

This effort is centered around the creation of “tiger” teams that are “composed of experts across many disciplines including fraud specialists, equity and customer service experience specialists, UI program specialists, behavioral insights specialists, business intelligence analysts, computer systems engineers/architects and project managers.” These teams will not only work on hardening a
Continue Reading Tiger Teams and Unemployment Reform Coming to Wisconsin

At the August 17th Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Advisory Council meeting, there was action on some of the Department proposals.

After coming out of caucus, council members agreed to support Department proposals D21-01 through D21-08, D21-11 (work share modifications), and D21-15 (eliminating unemployment taxes for summer camps and excluding camp counselors who are not students from covered employment).

Full details on D21-11 and D21-15 are available in this previous post.

The support for D21-01
Continue Reading Update on Department of Workforce Development Advisory Council’s August Meeting

MEUC (Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation) benefits have been over-shadowed by PUA, PEUC, and PUC benefits. But, many self-employed individuals who also engage in regular wage work may be eligible for this benefit that originated with the Continued Assistance Act.

MEUC benefits pay an additional $100 per week from the week ending 1/2/2021 thru the week ending 9/4/2021. You are eligible for MEUC benefits if:

  • you receive regular unemployment benefits or PEUC benefits (receiving PUA benefits would mean that


Continue Reading Apply for MEUC benefits before the Sept. 4th deadline

With all the problems being described with unemployment here, there are also many efforts at reforming the unemployment system — especially of late — as the problems access and timely payments have become so obvious even John Oliver of Last Week Tonight can see them.

A major report (over 100 pp.) for Reforming Unemployment Insurance is now available. A press release is also available.

This report describes how unemployment is supposed to work, why national or universal
Continue Reading Reforming Unemployment

Several folks have forwarded to me different articles that describe the current unemployment situation.

An article in Dissent establishes that the current attack on pandemic unemployment programs is mostly just another kind of attack on working folk.
Across the country, workers have used the health and safety concerns posed by the pandemic and the enhanced unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act to renegotiate the basic social contract that governs the American workplace. As social-distancing restrictions end and employers
Continue Reading The Summer 2021 Unemployment Situation

Let’s start with some background on unemployment insurance in Wisconsin. This article focuses on unemployment insurance from an employer’s perspective and specifically under Wisconsin state law. As such, we are not discussing the expanded unemployment provisions in the CARES Act, which primarily impact separated employees applying for unemployment benefits under more broad eligibility criteria. As the CARES Act provisions are federally funded, they have minimal impact on employers. In our experience, employers are not even notified as a party
Continue Reading Do Business Owners Need to Pay Unemployment Insurance?

Claimants are not the only folks having trouble with unemployment.

Many employers think that incorporation protects them from individual liability. Not so. In particular, for unpaid unemployment taxes there are specific provisions for holding an individual owner of a company (and others, see below) responsible and liable for unpaid unemployment taxes. Besides interest and penalties, the Department will work out payment plans, intercept tax refunds, place liens on property, revoke professional licenses, levy bank accounts, and even garnish wages
Continue Reading Unemployment Taxes and Personal Tax Liability for Employers

The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules met today and voted to immediately suspend the waiver of job search requirements and pandemic-related able and available provisions contained in EmR2106.

Here is what claimants need to know.
Four job search actions are required starting Sunday, May 23rd
Starting Sunday, May 23rd, all claimants will need to do four job search actions every week. What are those actions?

Notice that the Department now expects claimants to retain (for 52
Continue Reading Unemployment Law: Job Searches are Back

The Continued Assistance Act included a new documentation requirement for PUA claims. In my original post on the Continued Assistance Act, I explained:

There is now an additional documentation requirement for PUA claims. Claimants will have to provide documentation regarding their employment, self-employment, or the job offer/work they were slated to start for any weeks PUA weeks for the week ending 1/2/2021 or later.

  • New PUA claims filed on Jan. 31st or later will have to provide that


Continue Reading Unemployment Law: Documentation for PUA Claims

Lawyers are needed now for the unemployment crisis.

As of Jan. 31, 2021, there were nearly 16,000 cases waiting for a hearing in Wisconsin. With new administrative law judges at work starting at the end of March, several hundred hearings are now occurring each week.

Still, given the size of the hearing backlog, many claimants have been waiting months – in some cases now a year – for unemployment benefits. More than a few who have received benefits are
Continue Reading Lawyers: We Need You Now for Wisconsin’s Unemployment Claims Crisis

Last October, we shared information about the emergency rule that created DWD 120.02 which required Wisconsin employers to notify workers of the availability of unemployment insurance upon separation of employment in a post titled Wisconsin Employers Must Notify Workers of Unemployment Insurance Upon Separation.

As of March 31, 2021, the emergency rule requiring unemployment insurance notice upon separation expired and employers no longer need to provide the notice upon separation. If an employer would like to continue to notify
Continue Reading Unemployment Insurance Notice No Longer Required Upon Separation

Given the delays with unemployment claims in Wisconsin, eventual payment of benefits is leading to folks receiving lump sum payments of $10,000, $15,000, or even $20,000 or more.

Payments that large will mean a federal and state income tax liability, IF you do not have state and federal taxes deducted automatically at the time benefits are paid — aka, tax withholding.
Note: Because benefit payment levels are generally low in Wisconsin, having taxes deducted from benefit payments has usually
Continue Reading Unemployment Law: Tax Considerations

A lengthy primer on the unemployment claim-filing process is now available. Anyone filing an unemployment claim in Wisconsin MUST read this primer. It covers:

  • initial claims
  • weekly claims or weekly certifications
  • monetary eligibility — aka, your benefit year calculation
  • non-monetary eligibility — initial determinations relating to a job separation, not being able and available, failing to satisfy a Department job search requirement, or failing to satisfy some other Department claim-filing requirement
  • Partial eligibility — reporting on your weekly certifications


Continue Reading Wisconsin Unemployment Primer Now Available