8033 Excelsior Dr.
Management: James Buchen, Earl Gustafson, Bob Oyler and Daniel Petersen
Labor: Phillip Neuenfeldt, Red Platz, Dennis Penkalski, and Robert Lyons
Chair: Greg Frigo
Department staff present: Hal Bergan, Bob Whitaker, Andrea Reid, Terese Wojick, Tom Smith, Dick Tillema, Carla Breber and Peter Zeeh
Others present: Tom Devine of Wisconsin National and Community Service Board, Mike Mikalsen of Representative Nass’ office.
Meeting opened with a review of the minutes from the December 6, 2004 meeting. Dick Tillema asked that two corrections be made to the third to the last paragraph. Corrections will be incorporated into a revised version of the minutes, will be presented to the council at the February meeting. All members present approved the minutes, with the corrections.
Peter Zeeh presented law change proposal D05-34, Change to Definition of Employee. (pink colored handout in packet) This change removes the direct tie between being an employee and performing services in ’employment’ as defined in all of Wis. Stats. §108.02 (15). The employee then is simply an individual performing services for pay subject to the exclusions of Wis. Stats. § 108.02(12)(b) and the other provisions of the definition of employee. Motion made to approve this law change. Unanimous approval by all voting members present.
Carla Breber presented law change proposal D05-56, Technical Change to Correct Cross References to the UI Law Provisions Which Limit Use of Licenses or Regulatory Authority in Determining Who Is An Employee. (green colored handout in packet) This proposal makes technical changes to Wis. Stats. § 108.09(2)(bm) and 108.09(4s). These sections were created to limit what evidence may be considered when determining whether an individual is an “employee”. In some situations, government requirements mandate certain elements of control. It is felt these governmental laws/regulations are not a fair determinant of whether the employer actually has direction and control over the individual’s work. Changes reflect the policy the department currently applies in determining an individual to be an ‘employee ‘ or an ‘independent contractor’. Motion made to approve this law change. Unanimous approval by all voting members present.
Carla Breber gave a recap of law change proposal D05-26, Wages of Volunteer Emergency Workers To Be Included in Calculation of Partial Benefit Amounts, which was first presented to the Council at its December 6, 2004 meeting. This proposal would require that all wages earned by volunteer firefighters, emergency medical technicians and first responders be included when applying the formula to determine benefits due for a week of partial unemployment. Discussion ensued. Motion made to approve this law change. Unanimous approval by all voting members present.
Andrea Reid recapped law change proposal D05-41, Change Levy Fee Statue to Make the $5 Levy Fee an Addition to the Unpaid Debt and to Allow a $5 Fee for Each Submission of Property During a Continuous Levy. This proposal was originally presented to the Council at its December 6, 2004 meeting. Council intended to caucus on this proposal at that time. Discussion ensued. Council wished to hold off voting on this proposal until a later date.
Carla Breber recapped law change proposal D05-50, Remove Erroneous Suspension Provisions in the Approved Training Statues, which was originally presented to the Council at its December 6, 2004 meeting. This change will remove the “non-charge” provision from the general A/A disqualification where benefits are allowed because the claimant is enrolled in Approved Training. This “non-charge” provision was unintentionally created in Wisconsin Act 197. This change would correct that oversight. Discussion ensued. It would be an extremely costly proposition to give employers the benefit of a “non-charge” whenever benefits are paid to a claimant enrolled in Approved Training. Tillema estimated the cost at $9 million. Council will take some time to ponder whether they would want to expand the “non-charge” provisions of the Approved Training section. Motion was made to approve this law change in the interim. Unanimous approval by all voting members present.
Tom Devine of Wisconsin National and Community Service Board addressed the Council again in order to ask that Americorps members be excluded from UI coverage (except for the professional members of Americorps). Devine provided additional written information to the Council. A rather lengthy discussion/question and answer period ensued. Buchen, Lyons and Neuenfeldt commented/responded to Devine. Motion made to approve this law change. Motion carried by a seven-to-one vote of the voting members present. Draft language for this proposal will be written and shared with Council and Devine. Devine can share that with others for their input as well. Devine will be the contact for the Division in drafting the language with regard to the professional members of Americorps.
Hal Bergan gave a brief update on the Temp Help issue facing the Council. The task in dealing with the character of the employment contracts involved was more difficult than first imagined. We are close and hope to have a draft ready within 10 days to present to the work group. It will discuss the nature of the contracts and the applications for employment with these employers that are needed if the employers wish to take advantage of the continuing employment relationship afforded by the “7+7” policy.
Tillema covered the UI Financial Outlook Report for the Council. Highlights included the increased cost of non-charging of benefits and the related decline in experience ratings, balance of the fund and the economic outlook for state of Wisconsin and the Trust fund. Bottom line is that the UI Division will need the Council’s help to improve the strength of the Fund.
Next Council meeting is set for February 18, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at a location yet to be determined. Motion made, and seconded, to go into separate, closed caucuses for the purpose of deliberating on UI law changes. Authority for the caucus is Wis. Stats. § 19.85(1)(ee). Meeting will not reconvene and will adjourn from the caucuses.