2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
January 8, 2020 - Introduced by
Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform, by
request of Department of Workforce Development. Referred to Committee on
Labor and Regulatory Reform.
1An Act to repeal
16.48 (1) (b) and 16.48 (2); to renumber and amend
16.48 (1) 2
(a) (intro.) and 16.48 (1) (a) 1., 2., 3., 4., 5. and 6.; to amend
16.48 (3), 71.93 (8) 3
(b) 2., 108.02 (13) (k), 108.05 (3) (a), 108.05 (3) (c) (intro.), 108.065 (1e) (intro.), 4
108.151 (7) (c), 108.151 (7) (f), 108.155 (2) (a), 108.16 (6w) and 108.22 (10); and 5to create
16.48 (4), 108.02 (10e) (c), 108.05 (3) (cm), 108.065 (3m), 108.101 (5), 6
108.151 (7) (i) and 108.16 (6m) (j) of the statutes; relating to: various changes
7to the unemployment insurance law.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes various changes in the unemployment insurance (UI) law,
which is administered by the Department of Workforce Development. Significant
changes include all of the following:
Unemployment insurance financial outlook statement; council report;
Under current law, DWD must submit a statement regarding the
unemployment insurance financial outlook to the governor and legislative
leadership by April 15 of every odd-numbered year. The report must contain all of
the following: 1) financial projections of unemployment insurance operations,
including benefit payments, tax collections, borrowing or debt repayments, and any
amounts of interest charges and the economic and public policy assumptions upon
which the projections are based, and the impact upon the projections of variations
from those assumptions; 2) proposed changes to the laws relating to unemployment
insurance financing, benefits, and administration and financial projections under
the proposed changes; 3) if there are significant cash reserves in the unemployment
fund, the justifications for maintaining them; and 4) if program debt is projected at
the end of the forecast period, the reasons DWD is not proposing to liquidate the debt.
This bill changes the submittal deadline of the statement to May 31 of every
even-numbered year. The bill also requires the statement to contain proposed
methods for liquidating any debt, instead of the reasons DWD is not proposing to
liquidate any debt.
Under current law, DWD must submit a report of the activities of the Council
on Unemployment Insurance to the governor and legislative leadership by May 15
of each odd-numbered year. Current law also requires DWD to submit to each
member of the legislature by June 15 of each odd-numbered year an updated
statement of unemployment insurance financial outlook.
The bill replaces the two aforementioned requirements with a single
requirement for DWD to submit, by January 31 of each even-numbered year, a
report of the activities of the Council on Unemployment Insurance and the most
recent statement regarding the unemployment insurance financial outlook to the
governor and legislative leadership, rather than to every member of the legislature.
Finally, under current law, after the report and statement are submitted to the
governor and leadership on May 15 of each odd-numbered year, the governor may
convene a special committee to review the financial outlook statement and the
activities report. This bill repeals that provision. Under current law, the governor
may otherwise convene a committee by executive order.
Benefits for certain employees
Under current law, a claimant for UI benefits is ineligible to receive any benefits
for a week in which the claimant performs 32 or more hours of work. This bill
requires DWD to disregard an employee's hours worked for an employer in a given
week and wages payable to the employee for that week when determining the
employee's benefit eligibility if certain conditions apply, including that the employer
requires the employee to work during the week as a condition of continued
employment with the employer and the employer is unable to pay wages because a
government unit or the federal government fails to appropriate funds to the
Effect of criminal convictions
Current law provides that no finding of fact or law, determination, decision, or
judgment in any action or administrative or judicial proceeding in law or equity not
arising under the UI law made with respect to the rights or liabilities of a party to
an action or proceeding under the UI law is binding in an action or proceeding under
the UI law.
The bill provides that notwithstanding this provision, a final order or judgment
of conviction for a crime entered by a court is binding on the convicted person in an
action or proceeding under the UI law that relates to the criminal conviction, and
that a person convicted of a crime is precluded from denying the essential allegations
of the criminal offense that is the basis for the conviction in an action or proceeding
under the UI law.
Reimbursable employer debt assessment
Under current law, DWD must annually determine the total amount due and
uncollectible from nonprofit employers that have elected what is known as
reimbursement financing (reimbursable employers), and DWD must then charge
that amount to an uncollectible reimbursable benefits account in the unemployment
reserve fund. Whenever, as of a given year, that account has a negative balance of
$5,000 or more, DWD must assess all such nonprofit reimbursable employers to
reimburse for the uncollectible amount, except that employers that would otherwise
be assessed less than $10 are not assessed, and their portion is instead applied to the
amount owed by other employers on a pro rata basis.
Also under current law, pursuant to 2015 Wisconsin Act 334
, $2,000,000 was
set aside in the unemployment reserve fund to repay reimbursable employers for
erroneous payments charged to them that resulted from a false statement or
representation (e.g., identity theft).
The bill does the following:
1. Raises the threshold for charging a reimbursable nonprofit employer the
assessment to $20 instead of $10.
2. Allows DWD, in lieu of or in addition to assessing nonprofit reimbursable
employers as described above, to apply moneys from the $2,000,000 set aside to the
uncollectible reimbursable benefits account described above, subject to certain
Waiver of overpayments
Current law requires the recovery of benefits that were erroneously paid to an
individual to be waived if certain conditions apply, including that the erroneous
payment was the result of a departmental error. Current law specifies what does and
does not constitute a “departmental error” and also provides that if a determination
or decision is amended, modified, or reversed by an appeal tribunal (administrative
law judge), the Labor and Industry Review Commission, or any court, that action is
not to be treated as establishing a departmental error.
This bill specifically provides that, for the purposes of the waiver of recovery of
benefits, a “departmental error” does not include an error made by an administrative
Collection of debt by Department of Revenue
Subject to certain exceptions, current law requires a state agency and the
Department of Revenue to enter into a written agreement to have DOR collect
certain amounts owed to the state agency. This bill prohibits DOR from entering into
an agreement with DWD for the collection of amounts owed to DWD under the UI
Fiscal agent election of employer status
Generally, under current law, an individual who receives long-term support
services in his or her home through certain government-funded care programs is
considered to be an employer under the UI law of a person who provides those
services to the individual. Such individuals may use fiscal agents, whose
responsibilities include remitting any federal UI taxes or state UI contributions
owed by the individual as a result of that employment.
The bill allows a private agency that serves as a fiscal agent or contracts with
a fiscal intermediary to serve as a fiscal agent to such an individual receiving
long-term support services to elect to instead to be the employer of one or more
employees providing those services, subject to certain requirements.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
16.48 (1) (a) (intro.) of the statutes is renumbered 16.48 (1) (intro.) 2
and amended to read:
(intro.) No later than April 15 May 31
of each odd-numbered 4even-numbered
year, the secretary of workforce development shall prepare and 5
furnish to the governor, the speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the 6
the majority and minority leaders of the senate, and the council on
a statement of unemployment insurance financial 8
outlook, which shall contain all of
the following, together with the secretary's 9
recommendations and an explanation for such recommendations:
16.48 (1) (a) 1., 2., 3., 4., 5. and 6. of the statutes are renumbered 11
16.48 (1) (am), (bm), (c), (d), (e) and (f), and 16.48 (1) (bm), (c) and (f), as renumbered, 12
are amended to read:
(bm) Specific proposed changes, if any,
in the laws relating to 14
unemployment insurance financing, benefits,
(c) Projections specified in subd. 1. par. (am)
under the proposed laws.
(f) If unemployment insurance program debt is projected at the end of the 17
forecast period, the reasons why it is not methods
proposed to liquidate the debt.
16.48 (1) (b) of the statutes is repealed.
16.48 (2) of the statutes is repealed.
16.48 (3) of the statutes is amended to read:
16.48 (3) No Biennially, no
later than June 15 January 31
of each 5odd-numbered even-numbered
year, the secretary of workforce development, under
6the direction of shall submit to
shall submit to each member of
the 7legislature an updated speaker of the assembly, the minority leader of the assembly,
8the majority and minority leaders of the senate, and the council on unemployment
statement of unemployment insurance financial outlook
10contain the information specified in prepared under
sub. (1) (a)
, together with the
11governor's recommendations and an explanation for such recommendations, and a
12copy of the a
that summarizes the deliberations of the council and
13the position of the council regarding any proposed change to the unemployment
14insurance laws submitted
under sub. (1) (b)
16.48 (4) of the statutes is created to read:
The department shall post the most recent version of the statement 17
prepared under sub. (1) and the most recent version of the report prepared under sub. 18
(3) on the department's Internet site.
71.93 (8) (b) 2. of the statutes is amended to read: