Advisory Council meeting in August 2021

At the August 17th Advisory Council meeting, there was action on some of the Department proposals.

After coming out of caucus, council members agreed to support Department proposals D21-01 through D21-08, D21-11 (work share modifications), and D21-15 (eliminating unemployment taxes for summer camps and excluding camp counselors who are not students from covered employment).

Full details on D21-11 and D21-15 are available in this previous post.

The support for D21-01 through D21-08 is disappointing, as basic questions remain unanswered about why these proposed changes are needed, including:

  • Why are penalties against employers increasing so much in the last four years that the separate fund proposed in D21-01 is now needed?
  • Why is the Department in D21-06 re-writing unemployment law to its benefit when it loses key court cases?
  • Why the Department in D21-06 is allowing administrative law judges to ignore Commission precedent and unemployment law and regulations without any consequences?
  • How will an option to be a fiscal agent in D21-08 actually fix the confusing mess of excluded employment and unemployment taxes that currently exists when a family member cares for another?

In financial news, the unemployment trust fund has $977.5 million as of August 7th.

The Department introduced to council members SB485/AB487, a bill that would exclude uber and lyft drivers from regular unemployment benefits. Strangely, the Department has yet to introduce AB394, a bill that would revamp the over-payment waiver standard to add an equity and good conscience standard to whether an over-payment is affordable or not.

Indeed, there is some interesting data and issues with this latter bill. The Department’s fiscal estimate for AB394 indicates that in the 2018 and 2019 calendar years combined there were only around 350 no-fault over-payments (lack of fault is a precondition for an equity and good conscience waiver). Given that there were 41,197 non-fraud over-payment decisions in 2019 and 44,634 non-fraud over-payment decisions in 2018 (for a combined total of 85,831 non-fraud over-payment decisions, see the 2020 Fraud Report at 9), this number of around 350 is just unbelievable. Less than 0.5% (1 out of every 200 who allegedly made a non-fraudulent mistake) of these cases are without claimant fault?

This conclusion makes even less sense when comparing the number of non-fraud decisions in these years relative to the number of initial claims filed and the number of claimants actually paid unemployment benefits in these years.

                                   2018      2019
Non-fraud cases/Initial Claims    15.95%    14.35%
Non-fraud cases/Claimants paid    34.15%    31.72%

That is, in 2018 and 2019 non-fraud mistakes are around one out of every seven initial claims and one out of every three paid claims. If non-fraudulent mistakes are truly this high (and in years when claim-filing was at an all-time low), then the Department’s guidance to claimants and the claim-filing process are themselves completely broken and inadequate. Claimants are making claim-filing mistakes because the Department is completely inadequate in assisting claimants when they are filing unemployment claims.

But, since the pandemic started there have been no questions or discussion over the claim-filing process at an Advisory Council meeting.

Research results from the Department regarding the labor and management proposals (see this previous description of these proposals) dominated the public portion of the meeting.

Labor’s proposed increase in the weekly benefit rate attracted a great deal of attention from the management side. The Department presented three different scenarios of what the proposed increase would mean, depending on low, medium, and high unemployment — based on the number of weeks of unemployment paid per a typical claim. The management reps, however, want to know an additional variable — what changes in the unemployment rate itself would mean under this proposed weekly benefit rate. The staffer for the Department tried to explain that the three scenarios necessarily implicated a change in unemployment rates (more unemployment claims is correlated with longer periods of unemployment), but the management reps were insistent on seeing numbers directly rated to unemployment rates.

The problem with management representatives’ demand for unemployment rates is that those rates are no longer correlated with the number of unemployment claims filed or paid in Wisconsin. In 2007, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin was 4.8%, but 638,548 initial claims were filed that year and 332,982 of those initial claims (52.15%) were paid.

In 2019, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin was down to 3.3%, roughly 68% of the unemployment rate from 2007. Yet, initial claims in 2019 were down even further to 287,043, and paid claimants were down still more to 129,888. Those 2019 numbers are 45% and 39% of comparable 2007 numbers. In other words, claim-filing has declined to such an extent that it no longer has an historical connection to unemployment rates.

One tidbit in the Department’s research response that went without comment was the disclosure that 2,167 claimants in a typical year win approval of benefits under the 30-day quit to try a new job provision. Since 130,710 claimants were paid unemployment benefits in 2018, this 2,167 figure means that roughly 1 out of every 100 claimants received their unemployment benefits because of this quit exception.

Note: In its research response, the Department reports that 3,425 claimants received unemployment benefits in 2019 under the 30-day quit provision, but that this number was higher than expected because the number of claims being filed increased that year. The number of initial claims in 2019 was up slightly to 287,043 from 279,912 in 2018, hardly a major increase. Moreover, the claimants who were paid benefits in 2019 was actually down in 2019, at 129,888, from 130,710 in 2018. So, it appears that the 30-day quit exception is actually more significant in allowing claimants to receive unemployment benefits that what the Department is reporting.

The other research response that drew ire from management representatives was that the Department indicated that the ability of temp companies to immediately challenge claimant eligibility about missed interviews, declined job offers, and job search contacts was problematic during the initial modernization process. The Department indicated that these management proposals could eventually be implemented and indeed voiced support for them, but that the initial modernization effort could not include them because the modernization request for proposals had already been written and because claimant confidentiality issues would need to be addressed to allow employers to respond in the desired ways. Management reps, however, were unhappy with even this kind of delay. They want to object to claimant eligibility immediately.

Labor and Management proposals to “reform” unemployment in 2021

The Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council has been meeting in 2021 over how to reform unemployment in Wisconsin.

To date, a Department summary and the actual written comments from the November 2020 public hearing were reported to council members at the 21 January 2021 council meeting. There has yet to be any discussion or even acknowledgment by council members of the concerns raised at that public hearing.

And, the Department has re-presented its proposals from 2019 and new proposals for 2021, including a revamped SSDI ban (a financial offset in place of an eligibility ban, even though the Department has switched its explanation from one to the other for its own convenience).

At the 15 July 2021 council meeting, labor and management representatives exchanged their own proposals. Labor representatives in general attempt to make unemployment somewhat financially viable in Wisconsin. Management representatives build on prior “reforms” to make unemployment even more difficult and rare. Here is a rundown of those proposals.

Labor proposals

1. Fix the funding for the unemployment trust fund by changing how tax schedules are applied. Currently, the tax schedule to be applied to employers is based on the amount of money in the trust fund (which was $919.2 million as of 10 July 2021). This labor proposal would change the criteria to using an unemployment trust fund health number called an Average High Cost Multiple or AHCM.

  • Schedule A = When UI Trust Fund is below .5 AHCM
  • Schedule B = When UI Trust Fund is between .5 – 1.0 AHCM
  • Schedule C = When UI Trust Fund is between 1.0 – 1.25 AHCM
  • Schedule D = When UI Trust Fund is above 1.25 AHCM

Prior to the pandemic, when the trust fund had nearly $1.7 billion, the average high cost multiple was just under 1. In April 2021, when the trust fund still had slightly over $1 billion, the multiple was around 0.5.

2021 Wis. Act 59 is unnecessarily keeping unemployment tax rates at Schedule D for 2021 and 2022, and this labor proposal would also keep the tax rates at Schedule D. Per Wis. Stat. § 108.18(3m), tax schedules are based on the following trust fund balances (as of June 30th of the preceding calendar year):

  • Schedule A: less than $300 million
  • Schedule B: less than $900 million
  • Schedule C: less than $1.2 billion
  • Schedule D: more than $1.2 billion

In general, the actual tax rates for Wisconsin employers continued to fall in 2021 from 2020 tax rates because of fewer claims being paid to employees of Wisconsin employers. With fewer claims being paid, employers’ account balances are growing. As a result, employers have been moving to lower tax brackets within Schedule D.

2. Gradually Increase the maximum weekly benefit rate for unemployment benefits to $450 per week.

This proposed change would not take effect for another two years, however.

Current weekly maximum UI benefit   $370
2023 Benefit Year   $20 increase    $390
2024 Benefit Year   $20 increase    $410
2025 Benefit Year   $20 increase    $430
2026 Benefit Year   $20 increase    $450

This increase is half of what the Department proposes in D21-22 and needs to include a repeal of the $500 or more earnings prohibition to be effective, which the Department also proposed in D21-21. For further explanation, see the examination of these Department proposals here. As already noted, Wisconsin’s weekly benefit rate is the second lowest in the mid-west:

State   Max. WBR    Max. w/ dependents
IL        $484           $667
IN        $390           $390
IA        $481           $591
MI        $362           $362
MN        $740           $740
OH        $480           $647
WI        $370           $370

3. Eliminate the one-week waiting period, which is also included in Department proposal D21-19 and previously discussed here.

4. Expand worker mis-classification to all industries and make the penalties identical to claimant fraud. Here, labor representatives support adoption of Department proposal D21-26 and the recommendations of the governor’s misclassificaton task force. As noted in this discussion of the Department’s 2021 proposals, there are administrative and criminal penalties for claimant fraud as well as a different standard of proof for claimant fraud versus mis-classification by employers. It is not clear what the labor representatives are referring to with their proposal about identical penalties.

5. Request the Department to review tax schedules to assess the tax equity of those schedules.

What the labor representatives mean by tax equity is unknown.

Management proposals

1. When upgrading the Department’s mainframe, make sure employers have the ability to verify immediately any work search information that refers to that employer as well as the ability to report immediately any kind of work refusal, a missed job interview, or a decline of a job offer.

Employer’s currently have the ability to report all of this information as well as other kinds of information through the Department’s fraud reporting system.

Alleged fraud reasons the Department wants to hear about

Also, job search audits done pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 108.14(20) catch the interview and job offer information. This proposal would essentially give employers a direct avenue for challenging claimant eligibility when those claimants are NOT their former employees. For temp companies that have already seen their unemployment tax bills markedly reduced, this proposal secures an additional tool for cutting that tax bill even further. When claimants cannot collect unemployment benefits, then unemployment tax bills decline even further.

2. End the exclusion of union members from weekly job search requirements. Claimants who are working part-time, starting a new job in four weeks or less, will return to their current employer in the next eight weeks or so, AND union members who register on their union’s out-of-work list are exempt from doing four job searches per week. This proposal would require union hiring halls and union members who are on out-of-work lists with their unions to do four job searches per week through the union hiring hall.

This proposal does not make sense in light of how union hiring halls work. Hiring halls function based on the employers who contact them for available workers. But, that is not the point. Rather, this proposal is to draw media attention to this benefit union members enjoy and thereby create a further divide between them and most other workers in the state.

3. Redefine who an employee and independent contractor is for all fields of law to apply a single, common definition built around gig-work.

This proposal would completely upend almost all workplace law in Wisconsin, as one of the main changes being proposed is a person would be an independent contractor whenever a person signs a contract with an employer that states it is their intent to be independent contractor. In contrast to current law that specifies that such an arrangement can NOT be decided subjectively by the parties to the agreement, the proposal here is to give the parties the unilateral authority to create an independent contractor relationship on their own through a services contract.

Note: In practical terms, this authority is unilateral in the sense that individual employees have little to no bargaining power to set the terms and conditions of their employment.

Various “factors” are proposed to assess if a person is an independent contractor or not, but these factors are written so broadly and with so many loopholes that independent contractor status is all but assured. For instance, the services contract can still include a final schedule for delivery and a range of work hours as long as the time personally spent on providing services is left open. And, if costs for licenses, insurance, and certifications are borne by the person, then all is dandy with this gig-worker arrangement. In short, these criteria are not limitations but a road map for how to craft this independent contractor agreement.

Moreover, only four out of ten of these “factors” are needed for an independent contractor relationship to be established. So, an employer can make plenty is mistakes and still succeed on making their employees into gig-workers. A garbage truck driver, a machinist in a metal shop, and even a police officer could easily meet at least four of these factors and so be classified as independent contractors under this proposal.

Finally, this proposal also contains a poison pill that prevents any county or municipality from limiting this sweeping change to employment status in Wisconsin.

Regardless of any state law, however, this proposal if implemented would be a massive headache for employers, as federal wage and hour law, discrimination law, and collective bargaining law would still classify numerous “independent contractors” as employees for federal purposes. This proposal, in other words, is just plain silly and not serious at all.

4. End the 30-day quit-to-try a new job provision.

This proposal is another change that would greatly benefit temp companies by eliminating one of the main mechanisms employees may still qualify for unemployment benefits after trying out a job and quitting within the first 30 days.

By eliminating this provision, employees of temp companies would have to remain at every assignment regardless of fit, skill, wage, and working conditions until the assignment is ended by the employer to retain any hope of qualifying for unemployment benefits at some future date. Indentured servitude, in short, is making a comeback with this proposal.

5. Link the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available to the unemployment rate.

This proposal has been a bugaboo since 2010, as it essentially undermines the ability and scope of unemployment programs to respond in times of crisis. States that have implemented this linkage, like Florida and North Carolina, have been unemployment disaster zones, in part, because regular unemployment benefits were cut off prematurely during the pandemic.

One major point to unemployment benefits — “The decreased and irregular purchasing power of wage earners in turn vitally affects the livelihood of farmers, merchants and manufacturers, results in a decreased demand for their products, and thus tends partially to paralyze the economic life of the entire state” — is ignored and completely undercut by this proposal. Who would think that the penalties for first degree murder, for instance, should be linked to a state’s crime rate? Yet, management representatives are making a similar linkage here.

6. Numerous misconduct and substantial fault modifications.

For misconduct, management representatives want to add additional disqualifications concerning employer or customer information while also removing a requirement that employees act intentionally for any alleged “violation.” Absenteeism and tardiness violations will also be both more stringent and applicable regardless of actual reason for the absence or tardiness. Finally, employees would be strictly liable for a violation of an employer’s social media policy, once the employees are made aware of that policy.

As previously noted, these changes would directly run afoul federal requirements and loose Wisconsin employers their federal unemployment tax (FUTA) credit.

Note: A state’s administration of unemployment is funded through the Federal Unemployment Tax Act on their payroll (the first $7000 paid to each employee) that employers pay, called FUTA. Should a state be found to be applying the loss of claimant wage credits for “unintentional” misconduct, Wisconsin employers would lose their FUTA tax credit and be subject to the full 6.0% unemployment tax rate rather than just 0.6%.

In regards to substantial fault, management reps want to undue the court decisions in Operton v. LIRC, 2017 WI 46, and Easterling v. LIRC, 2017 WI App 18, by redefining inadvertent error into harmless error that does not also violate an employer’s written policies. In other words, any error that does not qualify as misconduct would now almost assuredly qualify as substantial fault.

Given that the Department still pretty much ignores these court precedents, this substantial fault proposal repeats previous “reforms” that seek align unemployment law with the Department’s current practices rather than accomplish an actual change.

UI Legislative proposals active in 2016

At the 17 December 2015, several legislative proposals affecting unemployment benefits were described to the Advisory Council. This legislation includes:

  • Returning work search waivers to what previously existed — Employees and employers have begun to voice concerns about how the limitations on work search waivers previously approved by the Advisory Council do not make sense for Wisconsin. No immediate change to the current work search waivers will happen, however. And, whether Wisconsin ever returns to the original rules is uncertain. For instance, there was extended discussion by council members of perhaps allowing employers to designate certain employees for longer waivers because of their skills or high value to the employer but leaving other employees to the now 8/12 week waiver maximum. See my own comments on the proposed regulations.
  • Expanded criminal penalties for unemployment concealment — Previously discussed here.
  • UI law changes in order to counter recent NLRB decisions — Legislators want to pass legislation that will supposedly undo a recent NLRB decision called Browning-Ferris Industries that re-defined the test for determining when the employees of one company will be treated as the employees of another company (e.g., when the employees of a franchisee or temp agency are really the employees of the franchisor or client company because the franchisor or client company sets the terms and conditions of employment for the employees). NOTE: unemployment is not mentioned once in the decision, so the applicability and purpose — let alone its effectiveness — of the state law changes in this proposed legislation are muddled at best. And, as DWD notes in its memo, the changes could be extremely problematic for some Wisconsin employers.
  • Exempting real estate agents from unemployment law — The proposed legislation is intended to remove real estate agents from coverage of any and all employment law and unemployment law issues.
  • Whether UI claimants will have their benefits publicly revealed — As DWD notes, this proposed legislation conflicts directly with federal law.

Also, the Department has begun publishing on its website some of the proposals being discussed by council members, including management proposals to add additional claimant disqualifications and labor proposals regarding new penalties for employers who mis-classify their employees as independent contractors and increasing the wage base and tax schedule for employers’ unemployment taxes in order to make the UI fund solvent. NOTE: This 2013 PowerPoint presentation describes what makes or does not make a UI fund solvent. The Department has yet to publish any of its proposals, so this blog remains the sole source for Department-initiated changes to unemployment law. For instance, the Department is still waiting for the Council’s decision on its UI modernization proposal, D15-06.

NOTE (8 January 2016): At the January 7th council meeting, the Advisory Council approved of D15-06 with minor changes that were not detailed.

Job searching and temp agencies: Weekly contacts now mandated

Back in August 2014 I described the lack of information available to claimants about one of the new requirements instituted by 2013 Wis. Act 20 — that former employees of temp agencies need to contact those temp agencies once a week as one of their four weekly job searches.

In December 2014, the Labor and Industry Review Commission issued a decision on this issue, Brown v. Seek Career/Staffing Inc., UI Hearing Nos. 14402929AP (18 December 2014). In this case, a claimant’s assignment at a temp agency ended, and she filed a claim for benefits. The temp agency had previously indicated to her that she needed to contact the temp agency more than once a week for follow-up assignments after the original assignment ended.

The Commission found that the new temp agency contact requirement in Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2)(i) applied, and the claimant had to return benefits for three weeks she had NOT contacted the temp agency. At the hearing, the claimant argued that the Department of Workforce Development had not made her aware of this new requirement.

The employee further states that neither the Handbook for Claimants nor a claimstaker advised her of the requirement to contact the employer. However, the law does not require the department to provide that information. The law requires the employer to inform the employee that she must contact the employer about available assignments. The employer is also not required to inform the employee that she might be ineligible for benefits if she fails to contact the employer. What the employee was allegedly told after the fact is not relevant to whether she performed a search for work in the weeks at issue.

The Commission reached this conclusion even though a departmental investigator found that this requirement to contact the former temp agency did not apply to her because the temp agency here wanted the former employee to contact the agency more than once a week — i.e., more than what was required in the statute. For the Commission this initial decision by the investigator was irrelevant because the Commission had not previously addressed this temp agency contact requirement.

The adjudicators found that Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2)(i) did not apply to the employee because the employer required that the employee contact the employer more frequently than weekly. The ALJ found that, for unemployment insurance purposes, the employee was not required to contact the employer more frequently than once per week. However, she was still subject to the requirement of Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2(i) to contact the employer at least once per week in order to be eligible for benefits. An interpretation of a statutory provision which disregards a contrary long-standing interpretation by the commission constitutes departmental error. Parker v. Cady Cheese Factor Inc., UI Dec. Hearing No. 05200982EC (Aug. 12, 2005). Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2)(i) is a recently enacted provision of the unemployment insurance law and this case is the commission’s first occasion to interpret and apply its language. The adjudicators did not disregard any settled or long-standing interpretation of Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2)(i). While the commission and the ALJ have a different interpretation of that provision than the adjudicators’ interpretation, the commission cannot conclude that the adjudicators’ interpretation was unreasonable so that waiver of the recovery of overpaid benefits is required.

So, in 2014 the claimant’s handbook had no information about this requirement. But, the Commission found that this requirement still applied regardless of whether the Department told claimants about it.

And, keep in mind that the current claimant’s handbook still has no information about this requirement:

Part 4: Work Search, Registration for Work and Re-employment Services
Work Search
When You Must Perform Work Search Actions

You are required to perform at least four work search actions each week unless the department clearly tells you that your work search is “waived” and that you do not have to look for work.

In some cases, you will not have to look for work if you are working part-time. Do not stop looking for work just because you start working part-time. Call a Claims Specialist to find out if your part-time work allows us to waive your work search.

If you do not make an adequate search for work, you may lose benefits.

If applying for Wisconsin UI Benefits from another state and Wisconsin tells you to register for work or report in person, you should go to the public employment office nearest your home.

Weekly Work Search

You are required to perform at least four work search actions every week if you are told that you have to look for work.

If you are required to look for work, the UCB-12 weekly work search notice will provide you with detailed work search instructions and a sample work search log. Do not stop looking for work unless you are advised by the department your work search is waived.

The department may request evidence of your work search at any time. You are required to keep a record of your weekly work search actions for one year. If you file your weekly claim certifications online, you are required to report work search actions as part of completion of the claim. The Department will keep copies of work search records you submit online. Falsely reporting any information on your work search form may be an act of concealment. (See Part 7: Fraud and Quality Control.)

Registration for Work

If you are required to perform a weekly work search you must register for work with Wisconsin Job Service online at https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/ui and complete a job match profile within 14 days of the date you completed your application for UI benefits.

If you fail to register by the deadline provided, you will not be eligible for benefits for any week prior to the date you registered. If you have questions or feel you have justifiable cause for not registering as required, contact a Claims Specialist.

If you have previously registered. you must logon to https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/ui to verify that your registration and job match profile have not expired.

Re-employment Services

Help in Finding Employment

For re-employment services logon to http://jobcenterofwisconsin.com or contact your nearest job center. To locate the nearest job center call 1-888-258-9966 toll free or search online at http://wisconsinjobcenter.org/directory. If you reside in another state contact the nearest public employment office.

Re-employment Programs

If you are registered with Wisconsin Job Service, are required to seek work, and reside in Wisconsin or a border ZIP code, you are required to complete an online orientation and assessment. When you complete the orientation and assessment, you will be notified whether you have additional requirements to participate in re-employment services. Participation in re-employment services is intended to help you return to work faster.

If you fail to participate in the re-employment services, you may lose benefits. If you cannot participate within the deadline given, contact the Job Center immediately to reschedule.

Participation in any of these required re-employment services will satisfy your work search for the week in which you participate. However, attending other employment workshops on your own can only be considered one work search contact, even if the workshop is conducted by a Job Center.

Updated: March 9, 2015

In other words, if you work at a temp agency and want to claim unemployment benefits after the assignment ends, you will need to contact that temp agency every week of your unemployment as one of your four job searches. It does not matter that no one has told you about this requirement as long as the temp agency itself has informed you that it wants you to contact the agency every week after your assignment ends.

Whether you have to accept each assignment offered you is a question for another post.

UPDATE (26 May 2015): The May 2015 Advisory Council’s activities report at p.7 has the following information about this requirement to contact temp agencies on a weekly basis:

2013 Wisconsin Act 20 provides if a claimant’s last employer was a “temporary help company,” the claimant must contact that employer weekly for an assignment or the claimant is considered to not have conducted a reasonable search for suitable work.

The temporary help company must provide written notice of the fact that the claimant did not contact the temporary help company to the department within 10 business days after the end of that week. There are three exceptions to this requirement:

1. The claimant has been waived from work search actions by the department;
2. The temporary help company did not require the claimant to contact it or failed to give the claimant written notice of the requirement that the claimant must conduct weekly contacts with the temporary help company seeking assignments, or;
3. There is good cause for the failure of the claimant to contact the temporary help company.

If the claimant does contact the temporary help company, the claimant will have satisfied one of the required weekly work search actions.

Primary Statute Created: Wis. Stat. §108.04 (2) (i).

The new work search requirement for temporary help companies resulted in 138
disqualifications due to failure to contact the company, protecting UI program integrity and saving thousands of dollars for the UI Trust Fund.

So, the Department is actively applying this requirement without even including this requirement in the claimant’s handbook.

Job searches and temp agencies

The Department of Workforce Development has recently updated the employer’s handbook about how former employees of temp agencies need to contact those temp agencies on a weekly basis as one of their four weekly job searches:

AC. Work Search and Temporary Help Companies

Section 104.04(2)(i)

If a claimant worked for a temporary help company, (s)he may be required to contact the company for an assignment as one of the required four work search actions each week to satisfy the work search requirements.

The department will initiate an investigation regarding the claimant’s failure to contact a temporary help company for an assignment if the temporary help company notifies the Department of the issue, in writing, within 10 days after the week in which the claimant failed to contact it for an assignment.

A claimant who is required to contact a temporary help company for an assignment as part of his or her work search requirement but fails to do so is ineligible for benefits for the week(s) in which such failure occurred.

Updated: July 7, 2014

As noted in this update, this requirement is based on Wis. Stat. § 104.04(2)(i), one of the many changes instituted by 2013 Wis. Act 20.

Unfortunately, the Department is not letting claimants in on this new requirement. Information in the claimant’s handbook about job search requirements has none of this information about temp agencies. Here is what the handbook today — 20 August 2014 — says in toto about job search requirements for claimants:

Part 4: Work Search, Registration for Work and Reemployment Services

Work Search

When You Must Look for Work

You must look for work each week unless the department clearly tells you that your work search is “waived” and that you do not have to look for work.

In some cases, you will not have to look for work if you are working part-time. Do not stop looking for work just because you start working part-time. Call a Claims Specialist to find out if your part-time work allows us to waive your work search.

If you do not make an adequate search for work, you may lose benefits.

If applying for Wisconsin UI Benefits from another state and Wisconsin tells you to register for work or report in person, you should go to the public employment office nearest your home.

Weekly Work Search

Effective with claims filed for weeks ending 07/13/2013 and later: You must contact four employers every week if you are told that you have to look for work.

If you are required to look for work, the UCB-12 weekly work search notice will provide you with detailed work search instructions and a sample work search log. Do not stop looking for work unless you are advised by the department your work search is waived.

We may ask to review your work search. You must retain a record of your work search actions for 52 weeks. Falsely reporting any information on your work search form may be an act of concealment. (See Part 7: Fraud and Quality Control.)

Registration for Work

If you are required to perform a weekly work search you must register for work with Wisconsin Job Service online at https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/ui and complete a job match profile within 14 days of the date you completed your application for UI benefits.

If you fail to register by the deadline provided, you will not be eligible for benefits for any week prior to the date you registered. If you have questions or feel you have justifiable cause for not registering as required, contact a Claims Specialist.

If you have previously registered. you must logon to https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/ui to verify that your registration and job match profile have not expired.

Reemployment Services

Help in Finding Employment

For reemployment services logon to http://jobcenterofwisconsin.com or contact your nearest job center. To locate the nearest job center call 1-888-258-9966 toll free or search online at http://wisconsinjobcenter.org/directory. If you reside in another state contact the nearest public employment office.

Reemployment Programs

If you do not have a recall date to return to work for any employer, you may have to participate in special reemployment programs which are intended to help you find a new job early in your claim.

Participation in any of these required reemployment programs will satisfy your work search for the week in which you participate. However, attending other employment workshops on your own can only be considered one work search contact, even if the workshop is conducted by a Job Center.

Once you have been notified, you must participate in these reemployment programs. If you have been scheduled for a reemployment program and you do not go, you may lose benefits. If you cannot attend a scheduled program or have already missed one, contact the Job Center immediately to reschedule.

Updated: October 11, 2013