Labor and Employment | Litigation | School and Higher Education Law

New Unemployment Insurance Notice Requirements for Employers

October 22, 2020

Beginning November 2, 2020, Wisconsin employers must provide notice to employees about the availability of unemployment insurance benefits at the time of an employee’s separation from employment with the employer. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) created the new notice requirement as a result of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020 allocates funds to states to provide additional unemployment insurance benefits to employees who lose a job because of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. One condition of receiving those funds is that states must require “employers to provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation to employees at the time of separation from employment.” FFCRA Pub. L. No. 116-127, § 4102(a) (amending 42 U.S.C. § 1103). DWD’s new notification rule aims to satisfy that requirement.

The DWD’s new notification rule requires employers to display a poster containing the relevant notice language on bulletin boards, near time clocks, or wherever employers post other employment law posters. Employers operating without a physical office location, or those who have employees working remotely, must share the poster directly with each employee and/or display the poster on the employer’s website. Employers may download a printable version of the poster from the DWD’s website. The DWD encourages employers to add the employer’s unemployment insurance account number, the employer’s legal name, and the employer’s primary address to the poster so employees have all the necessary employer information when filing for unemployment insurance benefits.

In addition to displaying the poster, employers must also notify employees of the availability of unemployment insurance benefits at the time of separation from employment. The DWD website provides sample language for employers to use when providing the required notice to affected employees. Employers must provide the notice language when communicating any employee termination.

The DWD suggests using the following notice language:

Applying for Unemployment Benefits --
You may file an unemployment claim in the first week that your employment stops or your work hours are reduced.

See digital poster for when and how to apply for unemployment benefits (En Español | Txhais lus Hmoob) (https://dwd.wi.gov/eworkboard)

Other unemployment resources:

For help using online unemployment services or if you are unable to go online call (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.

The notice must be provided regardless of whether the employee meets the eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance. However, it is important to remember that providing the notice to an employee does not guarantee that the employee is eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

For questions regarding this article, please contact the author, Attorney J.J. Hermes (email: jjhermes@strangpatteson.com; telephone: 833-654-1178), or your Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c., attorney.