Unemployment News for Employers
Message from DWD Secretary Frostman
Dear Wisconsin Employer,
In the 10th year of the national economic recovery, employers in Wisconsin and across the nation are enjoying some of the lowest Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax rates experienced in recent memory. For the third year in a row, the UI Trust Fund balance exceeded the $1.2 billion threshold needed to trigger the lowest tax rate schedule for 2020. The UI Reserve Fund balance was over $1.8 billion on June 30, 2019, the date used to determine the required tax rate schedule for the following year.
The integrity of the Trust Fund is important to the Department. A key to maintaining that integrity is ensuring all employers properly classify employees, report wages and pay their unemployment tax contributions as well as other state and federal employment taxes when due. While the vast majority of Wisconsin employers meet their obligations under the law, those that illegally misclassify their workers as independent contractors, or pay them " off the books", are intentionally breaking the law to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Their actions hurt honest employers, workers, and communities across Wisconsin. Governor Evers' new Joint Task Force on Payroll Fraud and Worker Misclassification will address the problems created by employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors through better agency coordination, providing more tools and strategies to increase already effective outreach and enforcement efforts, By combatting this problem with the strategic use of resources, we will continue to level the playing field for employers in Wisconsin, and maintain the health and integrity of the Trust Fund.
In addition to the efforts to combat worker misclassification, this newsletter highlights the other great work DWD's UI staff has performed to make Wisconsin's UI system easier to navigate for both employers and workers.
In closing, I want to thank all of you for your efforts to grow Wisconsin's economy by providing employment for thousands of Wisconsinites. Governor Evers and I look forward to working with all of you to identify strategies to expand those opportunities and the pool of available and ready workers to fill them, in addition to strengthening important programs like UI that provide economic stability in Wisconsin during economic downturns.
Employers are now able to make UI tax payments online using a credit or debit card. This includes quarterly and delinquent tax payments. We accept VISA, MASTERCARD and DISCOVER credit cards. A non-refundable service fee of 1% will be charged for each credit or debit card payment transaction. For your security, UI will not record or store credit or debit card numbers. After logging into Employer Online Services, our website will partner with U.S. Bank to allow employers to be transferred to their secure site to handle all cardholder data and complete a payment.
Go to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uitax/payments for all tax payment options
Coming December 2019, the Department of Workforce Development Internet site will have a refreshed look and feel. This redesign is to ensure that all content on our Internet site is current, understandable, and easily accessible.
UI Help Center hours of operation have changed. Those who need assistance can now call our Help Center between 7:35am - 3:30pm. The Notice to Employees About Applying for Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits (UCB-7-P) has been updated to reflect this change.
Go to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/publications/ui/notice.htm to print this revised required workplace poster and display it where workers will easily see it.
Want a faster and easier way to manage your UI account? There are several benefits to going online!
First Time Using Employer Online Services?
Request Online Account Access. Online Services Access Keys can be requested on our website under Employer Online Services by selecting Request Online Access. An access key is required for first-time Employer Online Services users. For security reasons, the access key is sent to the main business mailing address associated with your account.
Go to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uitax to request Online Account Access.
Need to File Wage Reports and Pay Quarterly Taxes?
File and pay online. When using Employer Online Services to file wage reports and pay quarterly taxes, exclusions and taxes owed will be calculated automatically. You can also view your account summary, tax rate history, update your address, close your account, and make a voluntary contribution.
Want to Respond to a UI Request or File an Appeal?
Use SIDES E-Response. Employers can easily respond to UI information requests, attach documentation for separation information, view benefit determinations, and file benefit appeals online using SIDES E-Response. Using this service, you are better able to supply information and in return, reduce follow-up phone calls and paper work, ultimately saving time and money. SIDES E-Response now includes a streamlined sign-on process.
Go to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/sides to sign-up, log-in, or learn more about SIDES E-Response.
The Department's efforts to combat worker misclassification have generated approximately $2.1 million in revenue for the Trust Fund since the project was initiated in May 2013. During the past six years, DWD has conducted 2,417 worker classification investigations, which have resulted in 574 audits that identified a total of 7,671 misclassified workers. Employers who misclassified workers were assessed over $2.6 million in UI tax, interest and penalties. In addition to the actions taken by the Worker Classification Section, the UI Field Audit Section has identified another 41,000 misclassified workers since 2013 resulting in additional tax assessments and interest of $12 million.
The elimination of worker misclassification is a priority at DWD, especially in the construction industry. The law provides penalties for employers in the construction industry who engage in intentional misclassification. A construction employer found to intentionally misclassify workers will be assessed an administrative penalty of $500 per worker, up to $7,500 per incident. Employers found to continue to misclassify workers, after having been assessed an administrative penalty, will be subject to significant fines for each violation. The Department may refer these violations to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for prosecution. In addition to penalties for intentional misclassification, it is illegal for an employer in the construction industry to require an individual to adopt non-employee status through coercion and the employer will be subject to significant administrative penalties. For further information and resources on how to properly classify workers in Wisconsin, please visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/worker_classification/ui.
The Unemployment Insurance Handbook for Employers is intended to assist employers in meeting their obligations under the Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance (UI) law, Chapter 108, Wisconsin Statutes. To keep up-to-date on all UI program laws and policies, please view or print this handbook at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uitax.
Publication UCT-17289-P (Rev. 10/2019)