Chippewa Valley Technical College
Business Education Center
629 W. Clairemont Ave., Room 100 A
Eau Claire, WI
Management: Earl Gustafson, Susan Haine and Daniel Petersen
Labor: Red Platz and Patricia Yunk
Chair: Daniel LaRocque
Department staff present: Hal Bergan, Andrea Reid, Lutfi Shahrani, Dick Tillema, Beverly Crosson, Terese Wojick, Jorge Fuentes, Brian Bradley, Troy Sterr, JoAnn Hium, Michael Sabatke and Carla Breber
Others present: Bob Anderson
LaRocque opens the meeting by presenting the agenda, noting that the bulk of the meeting will focus on the Able and Available presentation with a short presentation on the Trust Fund study to follow.
Bergan discusses some process re-engineering in the adjudication process. There has been a pilot in the Eau Claire Benefit Center under the leadership of Mike Sabatke to take issues from the DREJ list, not schedule them but rather assign them to an adjudicator who would “cold” call the claimants and employers as needed to investigate and resolve the issues. Hopefully, this will make our decision-making process quicker and more efficient.
Results so far have been 100% timeliness, a small improvement in productivity and the claimants and employers like this new procedure as sooner is always better than later. There is another pilot in the Milwaukee Benefit Center. Employers are being sent more specific fact-finding letters to elicit more useful information more quickly.
Our Federal grant situation is that we have been given preliminary notice of our grant amount for this year. It is a reduction of $1.6 million for SY’07. This will be somewhat offset by ‘above-base’ funding of approximately $400,000. The net reduction from 2006 is $1.2 million. We may request a supplement from DOL for staff salary increases due to contract settlements. The total federal administrative grant is about $53 million.
SUITES (UI Tax system) is on track. It is on schedule for its major release in the fall of 2007.
EnABLES (UI Benefit/Legal system) is scheduled for completion in 2010. We are taking a fresh look at the project to see if we want to revamp it. Do we want to recast it, or change how the releases work or change the mix of outside and inside resources, with more state employee involvement and less dependency on contractors? All these things are on the table and hopefully, we will have more to report on this to the Council at the next meeting in September.
Approval of the minutes from the May 31, 2006 meeting is deferred due to lack of quorum.
Tillema presents additional statistics and data requested by the Council on the family corporation issues.
A detailed summary of the Family Corporation data was handed out to members of the Council and departmental staff present (mailed to absent Council members on Thursday, September 20, 2006). The policy was created in the 1970s. The purpose of the policy was to control abuses experienced in benefits claims against employers owned or controlled by claimants’ family members. Negative balance employers accounted for a high percentage of claims involving family corporations. The policy objective to reduce such claims appears to have been achieved.
In the absence of the policy which has been in effect, it is estimated that additional benefits of $2.6 million would be claimed by 1,050 individuals (who stopped claiming when their entitlement was exhausted but could have claimed more if entitlements were not reduced). The estimate assumes that if entitlements had not been reduced the claimants would claim benefits for as many weeks as do other employees.
Sixty-four percent of family corporations with positive balances would become negative balance employers in the following year if entitlements were expanded and family members claimed as many weeks as their employees.
Discussion with Council members ensued. Haine asks the Council if any member is interested in changing the definition of ‘family member.’ Gustafson again states his concern that similarly situated people should be treated in the same manner (parent vs. the adult child). From the Department’s point of view, the current law is, by and large, working.
Referring to the separate issue of “corporate quit”, LaRocque indicates that the anomalous treatment of certain corporate owners explained at previous meetings can be rectified. The Department intends to bring that ‘fix’ to the Council.
Fuentes, an Enforcements (tax) Attorney with the Bureau of Legal Affairs, has led the Department’s Work Group assigned to review the rules on Able to Work and Availability for Work in DWD 128. Fuentes presents the history and background of the review, including many contacts with other states and review of their laws and regulations.
The Work Group decided to propose changes to DWD 128, while the Council independently arrived at an agreement (at its October 21, 2005 Meeting) to eliminate the provision in the current rule requiring availability for 50% of the full time opportunities for suitable work in the claimant’s labor market. [The Council agreed as follows:
A & A—change rule on availability to replace the requirement of availability for 50% of all suitable, full-time jobs in a claimant’s labor market with a requirement for availability for full-time work during the hours in which there is substantial demand for work in the trade or occupation in which the claimant usually works or has prior training or experience, giving consideration to the hours and length or shift that the claimant has worked since the start of the claimant’s base period.
UIAC Meeting Minutes, October 21, 2005.
DOL requires each state to have some kind of ‘able and available’ test for claimants in its UI law. Questions and answers flow throughout the presentation.
Yunk asks for clarification regarding withdrawal from the labor market due to domestic circumstances of the claimant, 48-hour absence from the labor market and the definition of a “week”.
Gustafson requests a “blacklined” copy of the original rule with revisions showing changes underlined and portions that have been stricken.
Petersen also suggests clarifying language regarding definitions and usual department policies that will be followed when ruling on these issues.
Division staff will sift all comments on the proposed changes and draft rule and return to the Council with a proposal.
Tillema presents the fiscal effects of the proposed changes to DWD 128, Ability to Work and Availability for Work. The net fiscal effect would be $600,000 in benefits payable:
Fiscal effects of A & A rule changes:
Bradley gives a PowerPoint presentation on Wisconsin’s Employer Experience Rating system as part of the on-going Trust Fund study. Included in the presentation is an explanation of what experience rating is, how the Department uses it, rate factors, calculation of the tax rates and reimbursement financing.
Hium discusses the letter from Kay Wilcott, Human Resources Manager of deBoer Transportation, Inc. Hium spoke with Ms Wilcott about her concerns with the UI Division’s handling of ‘misconduct’ cases. Ms. Wilcott feels Wisconsin’s discharge section of the law is too liberal.
Meeting is adjourned.
March 25, 2013
Unemployment Insurance Division, Bureau of Legal Affairs (BOLA)