By: Daniel Finerty
In a previous E-Alert, we described a series of substantial changes and amendments to Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance law that were scheduled to go into effect. The majority of the changes, including changes to the definition of “misconduct” and “substantial fault”, recently went into effect on January 5, 2014 and first apply to claims filed during that week.
Here are some helpful reminders when contesting UI claims to ensure the best outcome:
- Consider whether, and how, the information being submitted can be easily placed into the new “substantial fault” definition, the revised “misconduct” definition, the amended or remaining “quit exceptions” or other categories;
- If it cannot, determine how to better organize the information to ensure that UI personnel, who can be overwhelmed with competing demands for their time and attention, can easily use the information to make a quick benefit determination;
- Before submitting documents and information, decide, based on the circumstances, whether or not it is worth it to raise both a misconduct and a substantial fault disqualification or more than one disqualification; or, to argue that the claimant voluntarily quit through their conduct or non-compliance with directive or pre-condition to continued work and, in the alternative, the claimant committed misconduct and/or substantial fault.
- Always provide complete, accurate and organized information that can be easily understood; and,
- If you have questions about whether or how to contest UI claims, how to navigate the Unemployment Insurance Division system or other questions, ask questions or get help!
Those employers that have a working knowledge of the UI changes and attempt to utilize the changes in day-to-day human resource management will be in the best position to contest UI claims by current and former employees. Along with the new UI changes, employers should continue to utilize the existing eligibility criteria and disqualifications to protect their UI reserve account balance and reduce the overall amount of UI benefits paid.
When the new and existing UI changes are used to effectively manage UI liability and successfully defend UI benefit claims over the long term, these diligent employers that “stick with the program” may be able to secure their own homemade form of “tax relief” and obtain a downward adjustment in their Unemployment Insurance payroll tax rate. More money to invest in hiring and training employees and updating investments in infrastructure is always a good thing.
If you have questions about unemployment insurance, the changes, Appeal Tribunal hearings, independent contractors or other issues, please contact Daniel Finerty at 414-226-4807, or any other Lindner & Marsack attorney at 414-273-3910.