Ruder Ware

In today's complex business world, legal issues affect almost every business decision. Ruder Ware is a reliable single source of valuable legal expertise that helps business owners, managers, and individuals maximize and protect their corporate and personal financial assets.

With over 40 attorneys and 100 years of experience in serving business owners and individuals, Ruder Ware has established itself as one of Wisconsin's largest and most successful law firms. Through our offices in Wausau, Eau Claire, and Green Bay we guide our clients through intricate legal issues around the world.

At Ruder Ware, we work diligently to earn your trust by providing sound, responsible counsel to proactively manage and minimize legal matters so you can focus on your profit goals.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently released key Medicare figures for 2021 that will affect all elderly and disabled individuals who receive program benefits.  This notice summarizes the changes and their impact on various benefits. As is normally the case, Medicare deductibles and premiums have  increased for 2021.  Many deductibles and co-pays are covered by supplemental Medicare insurance policies, also known as “Medigap” policies (i.e., to cover the “gaps” in Medicare coverage). Deductibles for hospital coverage under Medicare Part A have been increased for 2021 as follows:   Medicare Part A   (Hospital Insurance) 2021 2020   Days 0 –…
Through the release of a Revenue Ruling and a Revenue Procedure, the IRS re-affirmed its stance that taxpayers may not deduct payments for otherwise deductible business expenses (i.e., payroll, rent, covered utility payments, etc.) if those payments are made using Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and the company “reasonably expects” to have their PPP loan forgiven.  See IRS Rev. Rul. 2020-27.  Notably, the IRS clarified that, for purposes of the 2020 taxable year, a taxpayer can have a reasonable expectation of PPP loan forgiveness even if they do not intend to apply for forgiveness until 2021.  As long as…
Last night, after his primetime address, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #94 which advises residents to stay home, take precautions if they have to leave their home, and encourages businesses to take additional steps to protect workers, customers, and the surrounding community. While the document is entitled as an “Order” there is no fine or penalty for failure to comply. However, Wisconsin employers should take note that failure to follow Evers’  workplace recommendations could lead to workers’ compensation, OSHA, and “Safe-place Statute” claims.  In addition, an employer who discharges an employee who complains that the order is not being followed…
OSHA’s enforcement activity has been accelerating as the number of COVID-19 cases has increased.  Now OSHA has issued a guidance designed to give employers an understanding of the most commonly cited violations arising from OSHA COVID-19-related inspections.  They are: Not providing a medical evaluation before a worker is fit-tested for or uses a respirator. Not performing an appropriate fit test for workers using tight-fitting respirators. Not assessing the workplace to determine if COVID-19 hazards are present, or likely to be present, which will require the use of a respirator and/or other personal protective equipment (PPE). Not establishing, implementing, and updating…
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a respiratory protection guidance for nursing homes, assisted living, and other long-term care facilities (LTCF) during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This guidance recommends that everyone use “source control measures” at all times while in an LTCF, even if the wearer does not have symptoms of the virus.  “Source control measures” include face coverings, face masks, and FDA-cleared or authorized surgical masks.  The guidance may be found at respiratory protection guidance. Health care providers who are in close contact with a LTCF resident with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection must use…
On October 26, 2020 the Internal Revenue Service announced the cost-of-living adjustments for the various qualified retirement plan limits. Some of the limits shown below have increased from last year while others remained unchanged.   Qualified Plan Limit Cost-of-Living Adjustments 401(k) and 403(b) elective deferral limit 2020 – $19,500 2021 – $19,500 $200,000 compensation limit 2020 – $285,000 2021 – $290,000 $160,000 defined benefit limit 2020 – $230,000 2021 – $230,000 $40,000 defined contribution limit 2020 – $57,000 2021 – $58,000 $80,000 definition of highly compensated employee 2020 – $130,000 2021 – $130,000 SIMPLE IRA deferral limit 2020 – $13,500 2021…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) have updated the definition of “close contact” for quarantine purposes. Previous guidance provided that close contact meant spending a solid 15-minute period of time within six feet from someone infected with COVID-19. On Wednesday, October 21, 2020 the CDC expanded their definition of “close contact.” Now, it is defined as someone who has been within six feet of a COVID-19 infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset until the…
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) recently released key figures for 2021 that will affect all elderly and disabled individuals who receive program benefits, including social security retirement benefits, social security disability insurance (“SSDI”) income, and supplemental security income (“SSI”). This notice summarizes the changes and their impact on various benefits. Source
After several months of uncertainty, businesses are carefully resuming merger and acquisition transactions. Many (if not most) small businesses took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, but, as forgiveness is still pending, they are forced to navigate the treatment of these loans in the sale or acquisition process. The SBA issued a procedural notice regarding its requirements effective October 2nd. The Notice provides the requirements a PPP borrower must meet in order to avoid losing its chance at loan forgiveness as a result of a “change of ownership.” A “change of ownership” includes: (1) a transfer of at least 20%…
Today by Interim Rule the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration jointly made it much easier for some Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan borrowers to get forgiveness for their loans.  If the PPP loan amount is $50,000 or less, the borrower can get full forgiveness to the extent that the loan proceeds were used for purposes permitted under PPP.  Such borrowers can ignore any reductions in full-time equivalent employees or reductions in employee salary or wages that would otherwise apply.  Under the PPP, borrowers who have spent all of their PPP loan on permitted expenses still faced reductions in their…
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development adopted an emergency rule to create DWD 120.02 which was approved by Governor Evers on September 23, 2020. As of November 2, 2020, Wisconsin employers will be required to notify workers of the availability of unemployment insurance upon separation of employment. The notification can be accomplished through one of the listed methods: letter, e-mail, text message, flyer and any other department-approved method designed to give immediate notice to employees. The Department’s website states that providing the printed poster in person or by mail would also be a sufficient method. Employers are required to display…
With ever-increasing cases of COVID-19 affecting Wisconsin and U.S. workplaces, many employers have been left confused as to whether, when, and how they are supposed to report those cases to OSHA.  OSHA itself has issued differing guidance since the pandemic began.  It has now, however, come out with some new clarification on those questions. As background, an employer must report the death of any worker from a “work-related incident” to OSHA if it occurs within 30 days of the incident, and the employer must do so within eight hours of determining that the death was work-related.  Employers must also report…
Today Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services issued Emergency Order No. 3 limiting public gatherings.  As written, the Order is effective until November 6.  The order limits “public gatherings” to no more than 25% of the total occupancy limits for a room or building established by the local municipality. “Public gathering” means an “indoor event, convening or collection of individuals that is open to the public.”  The phrase “open to the public” is further defined as to include, but not be limited to,  “rooms within a business location, store, or facility that allows members of the public to enter” and “ticketed…
Employers need to keep abreast of the ever-changing agency rules regarding whether a worker is an “independent contractor” or an “employee.” You might ask, “why does this matter to the government?” The answer is easy: many government agencies—both state and federal—are designed solely to protect employees.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (which monitors unemployment insurance, workers compensation, and equal rights for employees) to name a few.  Because “employees” have these protections and “independent contractors” do not, our government is…
Today, Gov. Evers issued Executive Order #90 declaring a new public health emergency in Wisconsin due to recent surges in COVID-19 cases. He also issued a new face coverings order, Emergency Order #1. While these orders are new, they have no material changes from the mask mandate orders Gov. Evers’ issued on July 30 (check out our post outlining what the initial Order covered).  The orders issued today operate as an extension of the previous orders. They are effective immediately and will expire after sixty days (Nov. 21) or with a subsequent superseding order. On July 30, Gov.…
Late last week, the Department of Labor issued a revised rule to address a New York federal judge’s order from this past August that struck down several provisions of the FFCRA.  (For a copy of Ruder Ware’s ealert on that order, click here.) The order left employers confused: Should we follow the original FFCRA or the judge’s order?  We advised several clients to hold off on making any changes until the DOL issued revised regulations. Well, finally, we have them! Note there were four main areas at issue: 1) the health care provider exception; 2) the work availability requirement;…