Latest from KEW Tips

On August 3, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announced another extension of its eviction Moratorium (“the Moratorium”). This article compares and contrasts the new Moratorium with previous iterations. What has Changed? The new Moratorium applies on a somewhat more restricted basis, at least in theory. Instead of applying in any state or territory in which there are documented cases of COVID-19, as in the previous versions of the Moratorium, the new order only applies in U.S. counties experiencing “substantial” and ”high” levels of COVID community transmission as defined by the CDC. Individuals can check the current…
As recently reported in the news, The Mixing Bowl Bakery, in Sauk City, Wisconsin is under fire for accusations of violations of child labor laws. The bakery is owned by Curtis and Vickie Eberle, a couple with nine children, many of whom work with them at the Mixing Bowl. The kids range in age from 11 years old to 6 weeks old. On April 4, 2017, the Department of Workforce Development sent a letter to the Mixing Bowl warning the owners that their business would be audited after receiving several complaints about the children working at the bakery. More details…
The law in Wisconsin (including Madison) currently does not prevent using criminal background to screen potential clients. However, federal law does prohibit using arrest records (open criminal cases are considered arrest records) as a basis for a denial. Even if you are a small local landlord, you are subject to the federal law as an applicant that you deny could sue you under the federal law.  The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has said that arrests alone (which could include both pending and dismissed cases) cannot be defensible as criteria for rejecting a tenant. Inquiring about convictions…
The U.S. Department of Labor recently proposed further rulemaking for tip regulations, which delayed some regulations until December 2021, while others took effect on April 30, 2021.  The FLSA allows an employer to count a limited amount of tips received by its tipped employees as a credit toward the employer’s Federal minimum wage obligations. This is called a tip credit, and employers may only claim it if their tipped employees retain all the tips they receive. Employers may however implement traditional tip pools, where tips are shared between all employees who regularly and customarily receive tips. In 2020, the Department…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on June 24 that it is extending its order, Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19, set to expire on June 30, until July 31. In issuing this extension, the CDC indicated that this is intended to be the final extension. The content of the moratorium remains the same as the that of the previous extension, in March of 2021. As a reminder, you can review our KEW Tip on that extension here. Landlords should remember that valid declaration forms provided by tenants in the…
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 when a separated employee applies for benefits under the CARES Act provisions. Anyone curious about the CARES Act’s specifics is invited…
On May 18, Public Health of Madison and Dane County (“PHMDC”) announced the next steps in response to COVID, largely in light of the CDC’s recent update on May 13 that fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks or physical distance in any setting (see here for more information from the CDC). As we discussed in a recent KEW Tip, Dane County is currently subject to Emergency Order #16, which will be effective until June 2.   PHMDC stated on May 18 that, come June 2, it will lift all Dane County Orders. This applies to any…
Whether an individual worker can or should be classified as an employee or independent contractor is a crucial question that every employer needs to answer before bringing on a worker. This article is focused on issues facing Wisconsin employers. This article is broken down into two sections: FAQs Tests which include both Wisconsin and Federal As an initial matter, note that this article uses the word “worker” when referring to an individual who could be either an employee or an independent contractor, for the purpose of working through the relevant tests.  All employees are workers, but not all workers are…
Public Health Madison & Dane County (“PHMDC”) has issued Emergency Order #16 to replace Order #15 (our analysis of Order #15 can be found here), which expires at midnight on May 5. The new order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on May 5 and will be effective until June 2. PHMDC notes that, as it gradually reopens Dane County, that the 7-day case average is down from 78 on April 7 to 64 on April 26, but the 7-day hospitalization average is up from 23 to 32 on those same dates. PHMDC further notes that the hospitalization level…
On April 2, 2021, Public Health Madison & Dane County (“PHMDC”) issued a new emergency order, to go into effect on April 7. Order #15 notes that on March 10, when Emergency Order #14 came out, the 7-day case average was 55 and 7-day hospitalization average was 23. As of April 1, the case average was 51 and the hospitalization average was 23. Further, more than 89% of adults aged 65 or older in Dane County had received at least one does of the vaccine as of April 1. Noting that case rates and hospitalization rates have remained consistent while…
On March 31, 2021, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued its ruling in Fabick v. Evers, finding that Governor Evers exceeding his authority in issuing multiple Executive Orders declaring states of emergency due to the COVID-19 Pandemic under Wis. Stat. § 323.10. In ruling that Governor Evers surpassed his statutory authority, the court terminated the existing state of emergency and, with it, the statewide mask mandate. Background Wis. Stat. § 323.10 allows a Governor to declare a state of emergency for a period of 60 days in the event of a public health emergency. Governor Evers first declared a state…
The CDC’s eviction moratorium, first put in place by the Trump Administration in September of 2020, has been extended until June 30, 2021. The new Director of the CDC signed the extension order on March 28.   What do residential landlords absolutely need to know? The existing moratorium has been extended until June 30, 2021. That means that, generally speaking, a landlord may not evict a tenant for failure to pay rent if the tenant provides the landlord with a signed CDC Declaration. Landlords should keep in mind, however, that the CDC has said that nothing in the moratorium order…
President Biden signed a massive piece of COVID-19 relief legislation on Thursday, March 11, with benefits totaling approximately $1.9 trillion dollars. The bill, named the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), provides the well-publicized $1,400 for many Americans. The bill also continues expanded unemployment benefits and an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), while providing significant funding for eviction and foreclosure protection, childcare, and restaurants that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article is just a summary of a portion of the subject matters of ARPA. Also, various aspects of the subject matters that are included have…
On March 2, 2021, Public Health Madison & Dane County (“PHMDC”) issued Emergency Order #14, to go into effect on March 10 and last until April 7. The new order is in response to a drastic decline in COVID-19 cases in the county. For comparison’s sake, Dane County had a 7 day averages of 111 cases of COVID and 68 hospitalizations on February 8, when Emergency Order #13 came out (See our analysis of Order #13 here). As of February 28, 7-day averages were 60 cases with 34 hospitalizations, and 67% of Dane County residents aged 65 and…
On January 29, 2021 OSHA released guidance to help employers and employees identify risks related to exposure to and contracting of COVID-19 at work. This guidance is intended to apply to most workplace settings, but specifically does not apply to healthcare or emergency response settings/workplaces. The guidance contains recommendations that are advisory in nature and informational in content, as well as reiterating mandatory safety and health standards. It does not create new obligations or new standards to help employers comply with their obligations to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. Information for Workers OSHA reminds workers and employees of…
Public Health Madison & Dane County (“PHMDC”) recently issued Emergency Order #13, to go into effect at 12:01am on February 10, 2021, replacing Emergency Order #12, which expires at the same time. Citing a reduction in the 7-day case average and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 countywide, PHMDC is, generally, loosening restrictions. In its introductory remarks in Order #13, PHMDC notes that their “conscious, stepwise reopening” has likely contributed to Dane County “having one of the lowest case rates in the state despite it being a population center.” PHMDC notes that as of February 7, a…