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Plain Language Summary of the 2001 UI Law

A complete Plain Language Summary (PDF)

Benefits Changes

108.05(7)(f) Reduction and Subsequent Elimination of the Social Security Offset.

Current UI law requires that 50% of weekly social security benefits be deducted from the amount of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits received. The bill would reduce the amount deducted to 25% in 2002 and eliminates the offset thereafter

108.05(1) Increase in the Benefit Rate.

The bill would increase weekly benefit rate by $11 in 2002 and by $5 in 2003.

108.14(19) Benefit Fraud Report.

Department of Workforce Development (Department) would issue an annual Benefit Fraud Report outlining the Department's activities in detecting and prosecuting claimant fraud.

Extend requirement for two work searches through 2003.

Current law requires two work searches through the end of 2001.
The bill would extend the requirement for two work searches
through 2003 and also provide that the Department would create a rule determining the number of work searches thereafter.

108.04(7)(h) Charge Balancing Account for Quits to Enter TAA or WIA Training.

The bill would charge the Reserve Fund's balancing account for UI benefits rather than employer accounts when claimants terminate employment considered substandard under the federal program to enter training approved by them.

108.04(8)(c) Charge to Balancing Account when Employee Fails to Receive Notice of Recall.

The bill would charge the balancing account for benefits when an employer's proper notice of recall to work is not received by a claimant and the claimant later requalifies for benefits.

Verification of Work Search.

Department would increase the number of eligibility reviews performed by UI staff. Accordingly, the Department would refocus current staff to check that claimants are actively searching for work.

Administrative Rulemaking
  1. Absenteeism and Tardiness. Department would adopt a rule to create a specific disqualification linked to repeated employee absences. Also, Department would adopt a rule to create a specific disqualification linked to repeated employee tardiness.
  2. Benefits to Part-time Workers. Currently, claimants must be available for at least 35 hours per week. Department would adopt a rule to allow benefits to be paid to claimants who are available for at least 32 hours per week. Agency guidelines would be developed in quits, job refusals, work available, labor standards, etc., to assure that labor markets continue to function smoothly but would not disqualify workers with good prospects of obtaining more than the minimum number of hours required.
  3. Extension of the Time Period for Filing an Initial Claim. Currently, a claimant must file his or her initial claim for benefits no later than the close of the week in which the claimant intends the claim to start. For example, a claimant who files two weeks late cannot obtain unemployment benefits retroactively unless exceptional circumstances delayed the claimant's filing. The bill would extend the time period for filing an initial claim by seven days beyond the end of the week that the claimant expects to get the benefits.
  4. Labor Disputes. Department would codify current case law for determining what employers are considered separate establishments for purposes of granting or denying benefits during a labor dispute.

Tax Changes

108.17(2c) Tax Payment Deferral Program.

Under current law, the first $10,500 in wages paid to each employee in the calendar year is taxed. Under the bill, an employer that has a first quarter tax liability of $5,000 or more and is not delinquent in making its contribution payments or paying any interest, penalties or fees assessed for UI purposes would have the option to reduce the first quarter liability so that it is spread throughout the year.

Creation of a Professional Employer Organization Definition

The bill would create a definition for "professional employer organization" or "PEO" (PEOs have also been described as "leasing companies"). The definition would provide that leased employees are the employees of the PEO. The corporate officers of a PEO would be included as its employees, as would employees whose direction and control may be shared or concurrent with another employer besides the PEO.

108.16(8) Elimination of Partial Successorship.

The bill would provide that the transfer of a business's reserve fund balance can occur only when 100% of the business is transferred to a single transferee or new owner/operator. Department would no longer transfer only part of a business's reserve fund balance if a part of a business is sold, except when the transfer is mandatory and the transferor has a negative balance account.

108.02(15)(j)6 Tax Exclusion for Certain Non-Immigrant Visa Holders.

Under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), services performed for any employer by a non-resident alien temporarily in the United States under an F1, J1, M1, or Q visa are excluded from the definition of "employment" and therefore are not taxable. Under the bill, Wisconsin's UI tax law would be consistent with federal law.

Requirement That Service Companies File Electronic Reports. 

The bill would require agents who file quarterly contribution and  wage reports for 25 or more employers to file tax and wage information electronically.

Coverage Exclusion for Services to Certain Medicaid Recipients.

The bill would exclude from the definition of "employment" nursing and respiratory care services to medicaid recipients by individuals certified by the Department of Health and Family Services as medicaid providers in independent practice.

Benefits and Tax Changes

108.14(2e) Expand Department Use of Electronic Interchange. Upon request, the Department would authorize the use of electronic means (e.g., e-mail and fax) to send and receive UI documents and other communications to conduct business.
108.152 Mandatory Coverage of Indian Tribes. Amendments to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act require all states to cover service for Indian tribes and offer a reimbursement financing option to the tribes. The bill would bring Wisconsin into conformity with the federal law.
108.14(2) Extension of Administrative Fee for Automation.

Current law assessing an administrative fee for the UI tax and accounting technology system "sunsets" at the end of 2001. The bill would extend the assessment for two additional years. The bill would also broaden the use of the assessment to include other UI technology projects for those two years.

108.09(3) Hiring Retired ALJs.

Current law permits the department to appoint only permanent employees as administrative law judges (ALJs). The bill would permit the Department to secure the services of retired ALJs to serve as reserve administrative law judges.

Nonstatutory Text Authority to Hire 15 Project Staff.

The bill would permit 15 two year project positions to fill in temporarily for staff encumbered by UI system redesign. These positions are federally funded and will not require state funds.

Nonstatutory Text Appropriation for Disallowed Costs of Employment Services.

The bill would authorize appropriating up to $250,000 in interest and penalty funds to pay for the disallowance of costs by the Department of Labor for employment services.

Other Changes

Collections Proposals. The bill would expand the tools by which the Department can collect unpaid funds that are due:

108.22(1m) As part of the normal collection process to obtain unpaid funds from taxable employers, the Department can file a lien with the circuit court to place an encumbrance on property. The bill would extend this practice to collect unpaid funds from reimbursable employers and those penalized for aiding and abetting fraud as well.
108.225 Current UI law does not provide the authority for the Department to impose a levy on the assets of delinquent reimbursable employers or employers who have aided and abetted claimants in committing fraud. The bill would permit the Department to impose a levy in these situations.
(1)(b) & (c)
The bill would permit the Department to place a levy on the assets of a third party who has not responded to a levy.