Unemployment Law

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

One of the requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Pub. L. 116-127, was that states require employers to provide individualized notification of the availability of unemployment benefits to employees at the time of their separation from employment. This requirement was essential for some of the administrative funding available from the Families First Act.

States that did not yet have this requirement, like Wisconsin, were to implement this requirement by emergency rule within 60 days of the
Continue Reading Employers’ Proposed Notice to Claimants