Compensation Advisory Council
TO THE WORKER'S COMPENSATION ACT
PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY 2001 AB505 EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2002
- Council on Worker's Compensation. This amendment clarifies
that the secretary of the Department of Workforce Development may
appoint an employee of the department to serve as chairperson for the
Worker's Compensation Advisory Council. s.15.227(4), Stats.
- Workweek Defined. Creates s.102.01(2)(k), Stats., which
defines workweek as a calendar week starting on Sunday and ending on
- Employer Defined. This is a technical amendment, which
deletes an obsolete reference to 1961 and modernizes the language.
- Employee Defined. Create s.102.07(7m), Stats., which
provides that an employee, volunteer, member of an emergency management
unit or a member of a regional emergency response team is an employee
for worker's compensation purposes.
- Delete Sunset Provisions Related to Work-Experienced Students.
The sunset provisions are deleted which allow public and private schools
to voluntarily insure work-experience students if they do not earn wages
from the work-site employer on which worker's compensation insurance
premiums can be assessed. s.102.07(12m) and s.102.077(3), Stats.
- Permanent Partial Disability. The maximum benefit rates for
permanent partial disability are increased for a four-year period from
2002 through 2005. s.102.11(1), Stats.
Year Maximum PPD
- Temporary Total Disability and Permanent Total Disability.
For a four year period beginning January 1, 2002 for each year the
maximum benefit rates for temporary total disability and permanent total
disability will be 110 percent of the state's average weekly earnings
as determined under s. 108.05, Stats. s.102.11(1), Stats. With this
amendment the maximum weekly wage for 2002 will be $970.50, resulting in
a maximum weekly TTD benefit rate of $647.00.
- Overtime pay. Section 102.11(1)(a) is renumbered and amended
to clarify that overtime and premium pay are not synonymous and that
overtime is not used to calculate earnings under s.102.11(1)(a), but is
used under the alternative computation in s.102.11(1)(d), Stats.
- Workweek Defined. This amendment clarifies the Department's
practice of using the employer's normal full-time scheduled workweek
and not the days or hours actually worked by the injured employee in
setting the average weekly wage. s.102.11(1)(a) 2 and 3.
- Full-time Workweek Presumptions. Create s.102.11(1)(a) 4 to
codify rebuttable presumptions that the normal full-time workweek for
flight attendants is 24 hours, 56 hours for fire fighters and not less
than 40 hours for other employees. For established multi-week schedules
with regular hours alternating between weeks the normal full-time
workweek is the average number of hours worked per week under the
- Part-of-Class for Part-time Employees. Create
s.102.11(1)(am) to define part-time employees who are part of a class.
To be part of a class an employee must perform the same type of work
at the same location, the scheduled working hours do not vary by more
than five per week in the 13 weeks preceding the date of injury, at
least 10 percent of the employer's workforce is doing the same type
of work and a class must consist of more than one employee.
- Employee Statement. Creates s.102.123, Stats. which requires
that when an employee provides the employer or insurance carrier a
signed statement relating to the claim the employer or insurer must give
a copy to the employee within a reasonable time. When the statement is
recorded the employer or insurer must reduce the statement to writing
after a request by the employee or his or her attorney or agent and
provide a copy within a reasonable time after the statement is taken.
The employer or insurer must make the actual recording available as an
exhibit if a hearing on the claim is held. The employee's statement
cannot be used in any manner in connection with the claim if the
employer or insurer fails to comply.
- Fraud. This amendment deletes the requirement for the
Department to file an annual report with the Governor and Legislature.
- Healthcare Fee Disputes. The sunset provision relating to
certified databases for determining the reasonableness of healthcare
providers fees is eliminated effective January 1, 2002. s.102.16(2)(d),
- Necessity of Treatment Disputes. This amendment clarifies
that the Department has the option of obtaining an expert opinion (peer
review) before resolving a case by a finding of fact order or by a
compromise settlement. s.102.16(2m)(c) Stats.
- Substitution of "Any" For "Either". This
is purely a technical amendment, which substitutes the term
"any" for "either" in these four statutes. The
drafter also made some other minor changes to modernize the language to
those sections. s.102.17(1)(c) and (e), Stats.; s.102.20, Stats. and
- Safety Investigations. This amendment provides that the
Department has the responsibility and authority to conduct, contract
for, or otherwise secure the services of safety inspectors to conduct
investigations involving work-related injuries. s.102.17(1)(h), Stats.
- Elimination of the 12 Year Statute of Limitations for Certain
Injuries. There will no longer be a statute of limitations for
injuries resulting in the loss or total impairment of a hand or any part
of the rest of an arm proximal to the hand, or of a foot, or any part of
the rest of the leg proximal to the foot, any loss of vision, any
permanent brain injury or any injury causing the need for a total or
partial knee or hip replacement. Claims involving these injuries will be
paid by the Work Injury Benefit Supplemental Fund. s.102.17(4), Stats.
and s.102.66(1) and (2), Stats.
- Prospective Award for Medical Treatment. This amendment
authorizes Administrative Law Judges in appropriate cases to award
payment for reasonable and necessary medical treatment on a prospective
basis. s.102.18(1)(b), Stats.
- Uniform 21-Day Payment Standard. Create s.
102.18(1)(e), Stats., which requires payment for all orders, including
findings of fact orders issued after hearings as well as orders
approving settlements, to be paid within 21 days after being mailed.
- Voluntary Direct deposit of Benefits. This amendment
authorizes insurance carriers and self-insured employers to pay
compensation directly into an employee's account at a financial
institution at his or her request. s.102.26(3)(b), Stats.
- Exclusive Remedy. The sunset on the exclusive remedy
provision, which immunizes work-site employers from tort actions
resulting from injuries to work-experienced students, is eliminated.
- Rating Bureau Records. This amendment prohibits the release
of information by the Department related to information or records
maintained by the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB) without
authorization from the WCRB. s.102.31(8), Stats.; s.102.33(2)(a), and
(c), Stats. and s. 626.32(1)(a), Stats.
- Continuing Liability. This is a technical amendment, which
changed the word "uninsured" to "insured". The
drafter made some other changes to modernize the language in this
section. s.102.32(5), Stats.
- Prompt Payment of Permanent Partial Disability. This
amendment provides that payment for permanent partial disability must
begin within 30 days after the healing period and accrues and becomes
payable during intermittent periods of temporary disability. In cases
disputed on the extent of disability self-insured employers and
insurance carriers have 30 additional days to give notice of scheduling
the employee for an examination and a 90 day limit beyond that date to
begin payment of any compensation for permanent partial disability which
is due. s.102.32(6) Stats. and s.102.59(1), Stats.
- "Rule" Substituted for "General Order".
These technical amendments include the term rule because this is the
modern term which is used. The term "general order" is
retained because it is cross-referenced in other sections of the
statutes. The term "form" was deleted because it is
unnecessarily restrictive and the term "format" was
substituted because the Department allows and encourages submission of
required information in various formats, including e-commerce.
s.102.37, Stats.; s.102.38, Stats.; s.102.39, Stats.; s.102.57, Stats.
and s.102.58, Stats.
- Incidental Compensation. This amendment modifies the
doctrine in Spencer v. DILHR, 55 Wis.2d 525 (1972) in response
to the recent case Honthaners Restaurants, Inc. v. LIRC, 240
Wis.2d 234 (Ct. App.2000). The intention is to permit self-insured
employers and insurance carriers to use an examining practitioner's
opinion to defeat liability for compensation for indemnity in an
otherwise conceded case that is a consequence of non-invasive
unnecessary treatment even if the employee underwent the unnecessary
treatment in good faith. s.102.42(1m), Stats.
- Limit Liability for Retraining if Employer Offers
"Suitable Employment". With this amendment a
self-insured employer or insurance carrier is not liable for
retraining if the employer at the time of the injury offers suitable
employment to the employee. Suitable employment is defined as work
within the employee's physical and mental restrictions and paying at
least 90 percent of the pre-injury wage. s.102.43(5) Stats.;
s.102.61(1) Stats. and s.102.61(1g), Stats.
- Offset By Expanded Wage. This amendment clarifies that
compensation for temporary disability will be offset by wages received
from other employment held by the employee when the injury occurred
against the expanded wage rather than the actual wage. s.102.43(6)(b),
- Supplemental Benefits. This amendment increases the
maximum supplemental benefit rate from $150.00 to $202.00 per week.
- Correct Reference to Proper Department. The Division
of Vocational Rehabilitation is now a division of the Department of
Workforce Development. These technical amendments delete the reference
to the Department of Health and Family Services and reflect that the
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is now in the Department of
s.102.61(m) (c), (d), (e), (f), Stats. and