Beginning Nov. 2, 2020, all employers covered by Wisconsin’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) law must provide employees with written notice regarding the availability of UI benefits upon separation from employment. The notice must include specific information summarized below.
Where does this requirement come from?
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) adopted the new requirement in an Emergency Rule published on Sept. 29, 2020, to ensure Wisconsin’s UI program complied with minimum requirements set forth under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Importantly, the new rule does not alter the existing requirement that employers display posters in each workplace regarding the availability of UI. Posters must be placed in a suitable location where all employees will readily see them.
How do employers satisfy the notice requirement?
Employers can satisfy the new UI notice obligation by simply providing employees with a copy of the DWD’s UI poster, or by including the following DWD suggested language in other written communications to an employee, at the time of separation:
The DWD states that employers may provide the above required UI Separation Notice by email, text message, letter, or by providing the printed poster in person or by mail. The Emergency Rule states that the department may approve other methods of notice.
What else should employers consider?
Some employees may understand the notice to mean they are eligible for UI benefits; however, not all employees who receive the notice will meet the requirements of Wisconsin UI eligibility laws. The DWD will make the ultimate decision regarding an employee’s UI eligibility. Nonetheless, employers must provide the notice to all employees at separation and should direct employees’ eligibility questions to the DWD.
Wisconsin’s passage of this law is consistent with several states that passed UI separation notice requirements since the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, as well as those states with preexisting separation notice laws. Employers with employees in multiple jurisdictions should ensure they are complying with notice requirements under applicable state law.