Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council
ummary o3 19, 1998 Meeting
Management: James Buchen, Earl Gustafson, Dan Petersen and Robert Oyler
Labor: Phil Neuenfeldt, Dennis Penkalski, and Red Platz
Chair: Greg Frigo
Department staff present: Bill Clingan, Bruce Hagen, Richard Tillema, Carol Laudenbach, Carla Breber, Michelle Kho, Tom Smith, Terese Wojick, Jessica Nelson, Melissa Montey, Nadine Konrath, Brian Bradley, Len Wroblewski, and Marissa Santiago
10:00 a.m. – Frigo welcomed Council members. Commented on Al Jaloviar’s retirement from the department and mentioned plaque that would be given to Al. Brian Bradley discussed the June 30, 2003 trust fund balance, stating that the estimated balance is $1.1 million. Will definitely be going to Tax Schedule C in January. Employer notices are being prepared and an analysis will be done of the schedule change.
Agenda Item 2. July 22, 2003 Minutes. The meeting minutes from July 22, 2003 were reviewed and considered approved.
Agenda Item 3. DWD/ DOR Combined Quarterly Wage Reporting Proposal. Martha Gertsch, DOR, did not show as originally planned. Bill Clingan gave a brief update on this topic. DOR is still interested but is currently addressing cost issues. Therefore, they are no longer asking for language changes in the current law until they can offer funding to implement the changes. At this point, there is no indication of how long it will be until this proposal moves forward.
Agenda Item 4. Labor and Management Law Change Proposals. Dick handed out materials he has prepared on each proposal. These materials are preliminary analyses and include changes made after receiving clarification on the proposals from council members.
Agenda Item 5. Department Law Change Proposals, Item 5a. Establish a System to Withhold, Limit, Deny, or Suspend Licenses for Nonpayment of Liabilities. Nadine Konrath, UI Collections, Bureau of Tax and Accounting, presented this proposal. The purpose of this proposal is to request a change to the current law that would expand collection authority to include license holds for non-payment of debt. This change would apply to both employer and claimant debt. The change would allow the department to suspend, revoke, deny, or not renew debtors’ licenses, including occupational and recreational licenses and sales permits. This change has been proposed because of the large amount of tax debt outstanding and the difficulty collecting it. There currently is over $60 million in outstanding unemployment insurance debt. This change is not meant to be punitive but rather to act as an incentive for both employers and overpaid claimants to pay their unemployment insurance debts. Oyler asked about the size of the businesses included in those employers with outstanding debt, but this information was not available. He also expressed concern over taking away small business owners’ livelihood and due process protections. Response was due process is protected by right to appeal to courts. Oyler asked for a breakdown by business size of those who refuse to pay but can afford to pay and those who cannot afford to pay. Similar provisions used by DOR have revoked only 197 licenses from 1996 through 1999, so very few individuals would be impacted. Neuenfeldt expressed concern over whether driver’s licenses and CDL’s would also be included in licenses that could be revoked and asked for analysis to ensure these licenses would be excluded. A detailed law change analysis (buff, D11-03) was included as part of the council’s meeting packet.
Agenda Item 5. Department Law Change Proposals, item 5b. Technical Change to Reasonable Assurance Statute. Carla Breber, Disputed Claims Section, Benefit Operations Bureau, presented this proposal. The purpose of the proposal is to request amendment of WI statute section 108.04(17), which is the school year employee exclusion. This proposed change is strictly a technical correction designed to change the wording of the statute to reflect the intent of the statute and to conform to the language of sec. 3304(a)(6)(A), FUTA. The change involves replacing the word "an" with the word "any" in several locations. This change will clarify that a school year employee has reasonable assurance if offered similar employment by any school year employer, not just the school year employer the claimant worked for in the previous year or term. A detailed law change analysis (blue, D20-03) was included as part of the council’s meeting packet.
Agenda Item 5. Department Law Change Proposals, item 5c. Changes to Approved Training Statute. These changes were not presented to the council. Frigo explained that the department would consult the Department of Labor in order to ensure conformance to federal law before exploring these changes further. The changes should be ready for presentation to the council by the next meeting.
Agenda Item 5. Department Law Change Proposals, item 5d. Change Benefit Charging from Proportional to Sequential. Carol Laudenbach, Director, Benefit Operations Bureau, presented this proposal. The purpose of this presentation was to update the council on the status of the change to sequential charging, not to propose further changes, and to ensure that the council is committed to this change so that appropriate steps can be taken to design the EnABLES software for sequential charging. A handout was distributed to all in attendance, highlighting the benefits, basic principles, and areas needing further analysis of this change. After the presentation, the council discussed fairness issues and possible means of charging lag period employers.
Agenda Item 5. Department Law Change Proposals, item 5e. Work Search Administrative Rule Changes. Carla Breber, Disputed Claims Section, Bureau of Benefits, presented this proposal. This proposal seeks to make several changes to the work search provision under sec. 108.04(2)(a)(3) and administrative code DWD 127. The major changes include: allow a work search waiver for an unlimited time period when the claimant has been laid off but expects to return to work for a former employer; allow a work search waiver for any benefit week in which the claimant performs some work, instead of only allowing a waiver when the claimant works for his or her customary employer; require 2 actions that constitute a reasonable search for suitable work for those claimants not obtaining a waiver; and allow retroactive disqualification of benefits for any week in which the claimant fails to conduct a reasonable search for work even if concealment is not found.
Some minor changes were also proposed. These include: require self-employed claimants to comply with the same work search requirements; allow a work search waiver when the claimant will start work with a new employer within 4 weeks rather than 4 weeks from the initial claim; allow a work search waiver when the claimant routinely obtains work through a union referral or hiring hall regardless of the reason for separation; increase the time period for which the claimant may be required to present evidence of his or her work search efforts; delete DWD 127.035 as this provision will now be covered by DWD 127.02(2); delete the obsolete sexual harassment reference in DWD 127.01(2)(b); and combine and renumber personal and mandatory waivers of work search requirements into one section and treat all as mandatory.
These changes have been proposed to accommodate the concerns of both labor and management and to allow the department to concentrate work search investigations on those claimants who are not job attached. The minor changes proposed are designed mainly to increase equity in applying the work search requirement and investigating compliance with this requirement. A suggestion was made that a statement could be added to the separation notice asking for verification that the claimant is expected to return to work. A detailed law change analysis (pink) was included as part of the council’s meeting packet.
Agenda Item 4. Labor and Management Law Change Proposal. Changes to Temporary Help Agency Administrative Code. Carla Breber, Disputed Claims Section, Bureau of Benefits, presented this change, which was requested by management. This change would codify existing procedures that extend the employment relationship between a worker and a temporary help agency between assignments when the employer does not have another assignment immediately available. These procedures would be codified as a new administrative code provision. The purpose of this change is to recognize the unique employment relationship that exists between a temporary help agency and its employees and to recognize that temporary help employees may experience a brief period between assignments where no work is available. This change extends the employment relationship to cover that period of time when the employer is searching for a new assignment for the employee, so that an employee who refuses a subsequent assignment is considered to have quit. A complete law change analysis (green, M05-03) 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 the afternoon of August 25, 2003 was scheduled pending polling of those not present. August 26, 2003 was set as a possible alternate date. September 9, 2003 was also agreed on as a possibility. Location will be in Madison, yet to be determined.
Result of Caucus:
Department Law Change Proposals:
Item 5a. Establish a System to Withhold, Limit, Deny, or Suspend Licenses for Nonpayment of Liabilities: Labor was still concerned about the possible impact on driver’s licenses and CDL’s. Management was not persuaded that this change was needed to get employers and claimants to pay UI debt, and feel this change is not necessary at this time.
Item 5b. Technical Change to Reasonable Assurance Statute: Motion was made and seconded to approve this law change. Motion was carried by unanimous vote of the members present.
Item 5c. Changes to Approved Training Statute: (discussed only in closed caucus) Motion to approve first proposed law change to this statute with modifications. Modification is to remove all reference to leaves of absence from the changes proposed to 108.04(16). Motion was made and seconded to approve this law change as amended. Motion was carried by unanimous vote of the members present. Second proposed change to this statute, labor agrees with the change except for the part about college. Management did not want to expand the provision any further.
Item 5d. Change Benefit Charging from Proportional to Sequential: Labor was ready to give a commitment, management wants to know what the non-charge savings will be. This analysis will be available at the next meeting. Management also proposed creating a workgroup to address and examine the issues surrounding the change to sequential charging. Decision on this change will be held over to a future meeting.
Item 5e. Work Search Administrative Rule Changes: Management wants to see specific language in the statute requiring employer verification of an expected recall. Management also would like to see a minimum amount of work required to qualify for the "performs some work" waiver of the work search requirement. Labor is concerned about the requirement that claimants produce evidence of work search beyond the last 8 weeks. They are concerned that not all claimants may be able to keep adequate records or may misplace their records. They would like to see that provision dropped from the proposed change. Proposal carried over.
Labor and Management Law Change Proposals:
Agenda Item 4. Labor and Management Law Change Proposal. Changes to Temporary Help Agency Administrative Code: Labor has questions regarding temporary help employees who experience a large pay decrease in a subsequent assignment and wants to consult with others to see if there is a possible remedy to this problem. Carried over to next meeting.
Agenda Item 6. Other Law Change Proposals, Item 6a. Allow Benefits to Claimant Who Quit to Follow an Active Duty Military Spouse Who Has Been Transferred. This proposal was presented by Jessica Nelson, Legal Assistant, Bureau of Legal Affairs. This change seeks to add an additional exception to the quit disqualification which would allow benefits to a claimant who has quit to follow their spouse who is on active duty with the armed forces and is transferred to a location beyond the normal commuting distance. State Representative Amy Sue Vruwink proposed this change because she feels that military families make many sacrifices and loss of unemployment insurance upon a mandatory relocation should not be one of those sacrifices. A complete law change analysis was not included in the Council’s meeting packet, but this analysis (Other1-03) was included in the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council 2003 Proposals Binder distributed to all council members at the meeting.
Discussion ensued and it was clarified that this proposal would apply only to the spouses of those military members who had been transferred, not deployed. Labor wants to think about this proposal more, so it was carried over to the next meeting.
Agenda Item 7. Letters to the Council.
There were 3 new letters that the Department would like the Council to consider. These letters were not presented at the meeting due to time restraints.