Wisconsin Unemployment

Latest from Wisconsin Unemployment

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 standards for unemployment benefits are needed, how the financing of unemployment benefits needs to be stabilized and broadened, how numerous sectors…
The Department’s own claim-filing mistakes Note: Previous posts detailed the length of time and number of cases in the unemployment backlog in part 1, some of the mistakes by the Department that allow cases to be re-opened in part 2, a place for stories and advice about how to find assistance in part 3, how most claims in Wisconsin — and unlike in other states — are being denied and thereby creating a ginormous backlog in hearings in part 4, in part 5 how the Department’s big push to fix the backlog in December 2020 was…
Phone calls to unemployment one year later Note: Previous posts detailed the length of time and number of cases in the unemployment backlog in part 1, some of the mistakes by the Department that allow cases to be re-opened in part 2, a place for stories and advice about how to find assistance in part 3, how most claims in Wisconsin — and unlike in other states — are being denied and thereby creating a ginormous backlog in hearings in part 4, in part 5 how the Department’s big push to fix the backlog in December…
Tax breaks for employers I previously described how the Joint Finance Committee ignored reality and state unemployment law — particularly the state’s partial wage formula that encourages people to work part-time while STILL being eligible for and collecting unemployment benefits — to make false claims about unemployment benefits keeping people from working. This effort is being done in the name of stigmatizing unemployment benefits. This push to end the pandemic relief programs early is still utter nonsense. What is lost in this hubbub is the essential nature of unemployment benefits in the first place. Unemployment is an insurance system.…
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 look to meet customer demand, pandemic unemployment benefits—which increase the amount in weekly income and the length of time that workers…
At the 18 March 2021 meeting of the Advisory Council, the Department presented its first eight proposals. These first eight proposals included the proposals that the Advisory Council originally approved of in 2019 (but which were not enacted because of the pandemic). At the 15 April and the 20 May 2021 meetings of the Advisory Council, the Department presented another 18 proposals — D21-09 thru D21-26. Yikes. Here are those proposals, with links to the actual proposals that appeared at the May 2021 Advisory Council meeting. D21-09, Employee Status solely determined by unemployment law The Department seeks to…
Yesterday, both Wisconsin legislative chambers passed AB336, a bill to stop PUA, PEUC, MEUC, and PUC benefits in Wisconsin. The Republicans in the state legislature are pushing for the end of all of these pandemic-related supplemental unemployment benefits, under the disguise that these additional benefits are keeping people from working. Utter nonsense. The real reason for what is happening is a push to create a stigma against those receiving unemployment benefits. First, the news from a few days ago about a massive budget surplus based in large part on these federal supplemental unemployment benefits should be enough to indicate…
In September 2020, I described how the able and available questions on the weekly certification ignored actual Department regulations. In short, the questions about being able or available for full-time work ignored key regulations that allow claimants to answer “yes” if they could work to the best of their ability the number of hours they were capable of working. So, a claimant who can only work 20 hours in a week because of a physical or psychological disability should answer yes to these questions as long as they are capable of working 20 hours in a week and do not…
The Joint Finance Committee met yesterday for the 2022-2023 fiscal budget. At this meeting, there were many complaints about job shortages and how “unemployment” was keeping the people collecting benefits from working. Rep. Zimmerman even described how he had to close his winery early on one Saturday because of a lack of workers. How terrible. Apparently, no one on this committee understands that Wisconsin’s partial eligibility formula for unemployment benefits encourages people who are collecting benefits to accept part-time work and to work part-time. Sigh. Under the partial wage formula, part-time weekend work is a financial boon for those collecting…
The Wisconsin state bar has announced its winners for pro bono attorney of the year award, and I am a co-winner with Rebecca Salawdeh in light of our separate work responding to the unemployment crisis in this state. This entire website describes my efforts on behalf of the unemployed. So, I do not need to say much more about what I have been doing. But, we all should hear about what Rebecca has been doing. She has been volunteering every Wednesday at Legal Action’s Milwaukee clinic to answer questions claimants are having about their unemployment claims. She has also taken…
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 from later employment to recoup unpaid unemployment taxes. In 2013, the Department proposed several changes to make it easier 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 weeks!) their job search records and provide proof for each job search action (for those 52 weeks!). Even if you cannot…
On May 7th, Sen. Nass announced in a press release: The Department of Workforce Development has the power to end the emergency rule early on its own authority. Unfortunately, Governor Evers and his administration is ignoring the critical shortage of workers impacting almost every sector of the state’s economy. The legislature will act quickly to restore the work search requirement. * * * We need every able-bodied person to re-enter Wisconsin’s workforce to rebuild our economy. In the current situation, nearly every person on UI should be able to find employment in a short time if required to seek…
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 documentation within 21 days of the claim. Continued PUA claims or initial PUA claims filed prior to Jan. 31st will have…
For the week ending 8 May 2021, the Department has added a new over-payment waivers FAQ. For this new over-payment waiver option, the Department will apply the equity and good conscience standard for the federally funded programs: PUC, LWA, MEUC, PEUC, and PUA. From the FAQ (as of 8 May 2021): Claimants who are eligible to apply for an overpayment waiver will receive a message in their Claimant Portal Message Center beginning April 28, 2021, with a link to apply for the waiver. Claimants who have previously informed UI that they are unable to access the internet will be…
Wisconsin news is in a tizzy about pandemic unemployment benefits leading to shortages of job applicants. News reports in Wisconsin feature retail establishments, and the outcry about worker shortages from the restaurant lobby has been non-stop. Sen. Nass even wants to start requiring unemployed workers to do four job searches a week and end all pandemic-related eligibility for regular unemployment benefits. Hogwash. In other states, unemployment benefits may be an issue. But, in Wisconsin unemployment eligibility and benefits are NOT the issue. That is because Wisconsin uses a partial wage formula of WBR minus 2/3(Wages earned in a week minus…