Foley & Lardner LLPWisconsin employers with layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic must act before August 15th if they want to take advantage of Wisconsin law intended to afford a reduction of employer charges associated with their UI Account. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (“DWD”) has issued guidance, based on its new interpretation of a law that provides a temporary reprieve for employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, employers need to act before the August 15, 2020 deadline to ensure their unemployment insurance (“UI”) taxes do not spike in the future because of certain COVID-19 related claims.

In April, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 185 to modify the state’s UI program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For unemployment claims that are COVID-19-related and filed after March 16, 2020, the Act shifts the cost of those initial claims from employer accounts to the balancing account of the state’s trust fund.  By drawing from the balancing account instead of employer accounts, the Act protects employers from the increased UI taxes that otherwise would result from pandemic-related unemployment claims.

However, the DWD recently announced that the Act’s automatic cost-shifting provisions only apply to COVID-19-related claims filed between March 16 and May 15, 2020.  To receive the benefit of the cost-shifting provisions for later COVID-19-related unemployment claims filed between May 16 and June 30, Wisconsin employers must complete and submit the newly created UCB-18823-E form to the DWD by August 15, 2020.  For unemployment claims filed on July 1 or later, employers must submit the new form within 30 days of the initial claim (essentially, creating a rolling submission whenever new claims are filed against the employer’s account).

The requirement to submit the claim applies to non-profit and for profit organizations alike.

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