Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council
ummary o3 19, 1998 Meeting
Management: James Buchen, Earl Gustafson, Ed Lump and
Labor: Phil Neuenfeldt, Dennis Penkalski, Michael Bolton and Red Platz
Chair: Greg Frigo
Department staff present: Bill Clingan, Bruce Hagen, Al Jaloviar, Richard Tillema, Mary Anderson, Carol Laudenbach, Carla Breber, Michelle Kho, Tom Smith, Terese Wojick, James Pflasterer, Jessica Nelson, Melissa Montey, Ben Peirce, Nadine Konrath and Marissa Santiago
9:30 a.m. – Frigo welcomed Council members. Commented on Bob Lyons’ retirement from AFSCME and expressed the hope that Lyons would stay with the council through the end of this bill cycle.
Agenda Items 2. and 3. May 15, 2003 Minutes/ June 18, 2003 Minutes. The meeting minutes from May 15, 2002 were reviewed and, as corrected, considered approved. Minutes from June 18, 2003 meeting were also reviewed and considered approved.
Agenda Item 3.1 DWD/ DOR Combined Quarterly Wage Reporting Proposal. Mary Anderson gave a brief update on this topic. Letter from DOR Secy. Michael Morgan dated June 25, 2003 was reviewed. No special law change language is available at this time to review or make a decision on. DOR is looking into options to cut their costs for this project. Buchen commented that this is more of an efficiency in government rather than something that would benefit employers in the state. It is unclear where this proposal is going. Anderson explained that we are not currently building in the new reporting requirements to the SUITES system and that if DOR does want them at a later time, they understand that they will have to incur those extra costs. Meeting will be held later this week or next with DOR.
Agenda Items 4. And .5 Labor Dispute Rule and Attendance/Misconduct Rule. Discussion of these two items was held pending presentation of the Department law change proposals. Department-prepared proposals and analyses on these two subjects were handed out earlier to Labor and Management respectively.
Agenda Item 6. Labor and Management Law Change Proposals. These agenda items were not discussed in favor of presentations of the Department’s law change proposals.
Agenda Item 7. Department Law Change Proposals, item 7 a. Repeal of Food Processing Exclusion. Melissa Montey, Disputed Claims Section, Benefit Operations Bureau, presented this proposal. The purpose of the proposal is to request the repeal of WI statutes section 108.02(15)(k)14 which is the food processing benefit exclusion. It would also make DWD 145, which defines the "Active Processing Seasons" in Wisconsin, obsolete. This is a benefit exclusion only. All wages paid to the employees of food processors are subject to both state and federal UI taxes. Many of the employees of food processors are migrant workers who travel to Wisconsin each year to perform this work. Employers depend on these workers and would have difficulty find employees if it were not for the migrant workers. The work performed by these workers is basically factory work, not agricultural work. As such these individuals should not have to meet higher eligibility criteria than other factory workers. And, within the same industry, two workers who perform the same work should not be treated differently. The added cost of using presently excludable wages totaled approximately $200, 000 for 123 individuals last year. A detailed law change analysis (green, D5-03) was included as part of the Council’s meeting packet.
Agenda Item 7. Department Law Change Proposals, item 7 b. Allow Payment of Lien Satisfaction Fees Periodically Instead of Per Item. Nadine Konrath, UI Collections, Bureau of Tax and Accounting, presented this proposed change. It would allow the department to pay all fees associated with benefit and tax satisfactions or release of warrants to the clerks of circuit court in the same billing cycles. It would combine the payment processes for warrants, satisfactions and releases and changes only the way we provide payment to the clerks of court. UI will begin exchanging information electronically with Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) thereby enhancing and streamlining clerks of circuit court billing and payment procedures. This change would benefit all clerks of circuit court as well as the department and is favored by all clerks of circuit court contacted regarding this change. A detailed analysis (ivory, D30-03) was included in the Council’s meeting packet. Neuefeldt wished to speak with Bob Lyons on this proposal before caucusing as Lyons is considered the county expert on Labor’s team.
Agenda Item 7. Department Law Change Proposals, item 7 c. Revision of Wisconsin Supplemental Benefits. Ben Peirce, Systems and Processing Section, Benefit Operations Bureau presented this proposal. The primary reason for the change is to eliminate the "40% limitation". Under current law, the total benefits (UI and WSB) payable to an individual based upon a base period are limited to the lesser of 34 times the weekly benefit rate or 40% of the total base period wages. Because of the method of calculation of the claimant’s total entitlement under s. 108.06(1), some individuals are mathematically prevented from receiving WSB, even if other wise eligible. This change would remove the "40 % limitation" and strictly define the WSB total entitlement as the lesser of 50% of the UI entitlement or eight times the UI weekly benefit rate.
It would also codify our policy of treating individuals who " exhaust" entitlement due to a reduction under the loss of license section 108.04(f) not as exhaustees for purposes of WSB. It would treat those who have had entitlement reduced due a discharge for misconduct under 108.04(5) as exhaustees but that the reduction would apply to the WSB maximum benefit amount (MBA) as well. It would treat individuals who "exhaust" entitlement due to the educational institution employee section of the law [108.04(17)] as an exhaustee for WSB and that entitlement can be calculated during a period of reasonable assurance based upon wages other than those earned from educational employers. This would be consistent with our treatment of individuals under TSB and/or TEUC.
If the program (WSB) were in effect in 2004, the cost of the revised program would be $17.7 million. As the program is designed to provide benefits in association with higher unemployment due to recessions and no recession is expected for 2004, any cost would be considered a long range and intermittent fiscal effect. Approximately, 49.8% more individuals would be eligible for WSB under this proposal than would under current law. A detailed law change analysis (blue, D31-03) as well as the latest draft language was included in the Council’s meeting packet.
Agenda Item 7. Department Law Change Proposals, item 7 d. Create Collection Remedies for Imposter Overpayments and Penalties. Tom Smith, UI Research Attorney, Bureau of Legal Affairs, presented this proposal. In 1999, the law was changed to create overpayments and administrative penalties against individuals who used the identity of another to falsely obtain UI benefits ("imposters"). Although the law has been in effect for approximately 4 years, we find that we have no collection remedies to recoup the overpayments established or impose the administrative penalties assessed. This proposal would add the collection of these overpayments and assessments to our normal collection procedures as the law originally intended in 1999. This is a fairly straightforward and simple technical change. The law change analysis (buff, D32-03) was included in the Council’s meeting materials.
Agenda Item 7. Department Law Change Proposals, item 7 e. Clarifying
Amendments to Late Appeal Statute. Marissa Santiago, Legal Assistant,
Bureau of Legal Affairs, presented this change. This change would clarify
108.09(4)(c) the late appeals statute so that it clearly states that an
Administrative Law Judge may hold a hearing on whether an appellant’s
reason for filing a late appeal were beyond the party’s control. Current
language seems to imply that a hearing will be held for all such
late appeals. That is not current practice and we want to clearly codify our
current procedures. This change will allow the appellant to know what actions
will be taken if there is no hearing and what the basis was for not conducting a
hearing. A complete law change analysis (gray, D27-03) was included in the
Council’s meeting packet.
Agenda Item 7. Department Law Change Proposals, item 7 f. Create Definition of "Child" Which Includes Stepchild. Jessica Nelson, Legal Assistant, Bureau of Legal Affairs, presented this proposed change. This change seeks to expressly state that stepchildren are included with the definition of the term "child" as used within Chapter 108 (WI’s UI law). This would ensure that stepchildren are treated the same as natural or adopted children for purposes of unemployment insurance. Under current law, stepchildren may be subject to different standards simply because the law does not expressly recognize them as children. This change would only impact those claimants who are stepchildren of stepparents working in an employment where the requisite percentage of the business is owned by the claimant’s spouse, child, or parent; claimants whose stepparent(s) is an alien temporarily in the United States; claimants who quit due to domestic abuse of a stepchild or lack of child care for a stepchild who do not also have natural children subject to abuse or needing child care. This change is a request for equity of treatment of children under the UI law. A complete law change analysis (pink, D13-03) was included in the Council’s meeting packet.
Motion was made and seconded to go into separate closed caucuses for purpose of deliberating proposed changes to Wisconsin UI Law. Authority for the closed caucus is provided by WI Statutes section 19.85(1)(ee). Motion carried by a unanimous vote among the Council members present.
Members returned from caucus at 12:45 p.m. Frigo reconvened the meeting. Discussion ensued regarding the next meeting date. A tentative date of August 8, 2003 was scheduled pending polling of Bob Lyons and Dan Petersen. Location will be in Madison, yet to be determined.
Result of Caucus: Buchen added another law change proposal to Management’s list. It is a proposal to codify the UI Division’s policy re: temporary help employers and the ‘new work’ concept. Similar to the proposed draft in progress of DWD 133 "Temporary Help Employers".
Clingan offered a complete departmental law change analysis to Buchen. Buchen accepted. Frigo promised the analysis would be prepared.
Department Law Change Proposals:
Item 7 a. Repeal of Food Processing Exclusion: Management wants to wait on this proposal. Will take up at the next meeting.
Item 7 b. Allow Payment of Lien Satisfaction Fees Periodically Instead of Per Item. Labor wants to wait on this proposal in order to discuss it with Bob Lyons. Will take up at a later date.
Item 7 c. Revision of Wisconsin Supplemental Benefits. Management wants to wait on this proposal. Will take up at a later date.
Item 7 d. Create Collection Remedies for Imposter Overpayments and Penalties. Motion was made and seconded to approve this law change. Motion was carried by unanimous vote of the members present.
Item 7 e. Clarifying Amendments to Late Appeal Statute. Motion was made and seconded to approve this law change. Motion was carried by unanimous vote of the members present.
Item 7 f. Create Definition of "Child" Which Includes Stepchild. Motion was made and seconded to approve this law change. Motion was carried by unanimous vote of the members present.
No new letters to present to the Council. A follow-up on letter written by Mary Beth Ring as requested by the Council at the June 18, 2003 meeting. Ms. Ring originally wrote to say that she thought it was unfair to be denied UI benefits for quitting a job of very short duration (her last employer) when she had previously work for an employer for almost four years. She quit that job as well but it was determined to be a ‘quit with good cause attributable to the employer’ due to its failure to pay her all wages owed. She filed a claim for benefits in February of 2001 and was paid to exhaust a total of $8138.00 in UI benefits. When she filed another claim in February of 2002, it was discovered that she failed to report working for her last employer and failed to report that she quit that job (also in February 2001). That quit was investigated and she was denied due to that quitting. She was also found to be overpaid in the amount of $8138.00 and was assessed forfeitures for concealing the fact that she quit this job. Her original question still remains. Should an individual be denied benefits after working for an employer for a very short time when that individual also worked for a previous employer for a much longer duration? Council showed no interest in a law change that would allow this happen.
Buchen asked about the list of other Department law change proposal yet to be presented. They are: an approved training statute change, s. 108.04(16), quit-to-take change, s. 108.04(7) (L) and (7)(p), a change to 108.04(1)(b) 1 (not an all inclusive list) but are substantive changes and would need time to present and be deliberated.
Gustafson asked about the Department plans to announce the UI tax increase for 2004 to employers. Clingan responded that the Secretary’s Office is working on what it wants to come out in that regard. No additional questions were posed.