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Whether it is your place of employment allowing the option to work from home, managing unemployment or career changes, or seeing the disparity in income and shortage of workers in various fields, it is essential to stay current with current employment and labor laws in Wisconsin.

As the world opens up and we reintegrate back into the workforce, we notice that things have changed. Whether it is your place of employment allowing the option to work from home, managing unemployment or career changes, or seeing the disparity in income and shortage of workers in various fields, it is essential to stay current with current employment and labor laws in Wisconsin. Below our Wisconsin Attorneys will share some of the current changes for 2022.  

What is Senate Bill 11?

Senate Bill 11 made various changes to the workers’ compensation statutes on March 10, 2022. Some notable changes include:  

  • Section 3 of SB Bill 11 pertains to Statutory provision 102.12(2) (a). The language added states that various health care professionals, upon request from a workers’ compensation insurer representative, shall provide a complete copy of an itemized billing statement or a billing statement in a standardized billing format recognized by the federal government.  
  • This type of amendment shall provide insight and clarity to the insurance companies to provide proper and adequate compensation related to an employee’s claim.  
  • While it may act as a check on truthfulness from the employee,    
  • Section 4 of Senate Bill 11 pertains to Statutory Provision 102.17 (4)(a). This bill added language to the provision to include “the employee’s employer or the employer’s insurance company, or other named parties.”    
  • Section 5 of Senate Bill 11 creates and adds Statutory provision 102.17. This provision lays out how a mental diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) must be established or proven for a law enforcement officer or a firefighter for a claim of compensation as a mental injury without physical attributes  
  • An addition like this gives law enforcement officers and firefighters an avenue for compensation when their mental illnesses when they have no physical manifestations of trauma that are usually required. This bill widens the range of those that can be compensated as these careers often lend themselves to focus on physical injury.    
  • This type of addition to the workers’ compensation keys to the nationwide push to recognize mental illness, which often has invisible manifestations and is often left untreated or uncared for. Such an addition is progressive and shows promise for those that suffer and had to power through to make ends meet when they need time off and assistance.  
  • Sections 8 through 12 make various amendments and additions to Statutory provision 102.315, which deals with leased employees.  
  • Leased employed are those that are brought on a job through a staffing firm and are typically hired on a temporary or project-specific basis.  
  • The various additions and amendments give leased employees more clarity relating to any claims of workers’ compensation that they may be entitled to and other rights as laid out in the provision.  
  • Sections 14 and 15 pertain to Statutory Provisions 102.42 and 102.44. These provisions add language stating that those employees who have a mental injury that is compensable within the means of portions of the statute may not exceed a disability period of 32 weeks.  
  • Such language is necessary to provide employees time to get the help they need while having covered time off and placing a healthy restriction to ensure that an employer is not responsible for an employee for an extended period if the employee is unable to recover. Such statutory provisions are necessary to provide balance.  

While Senate Bill 11 makes various changes and additions to the Workers’ Compensation statute, it is clear that the focus of the Bill is to close the gap in areas where compensation should be given but has been overlooked due to lack of inclusion in the statute. We look forward to seeing how the statute continues to evolve.  

 

What is Senate Bill 358?  

We look at a small amendment to Statute 109 – wage payments, claims, and collections. Senate Bill 358 amends part of the statute, specifically 109.03(1)(b) now reads: “School district employees, cooperative educational service agency employees, and private school employees who voluntarily request payment over 12 months for personal services performed during the school year, unless, with respect to private school employees, the employees are covered under a valid collective bargaining agreement which precludes this method of payment.”  

According to the legislature, it was essential to include this group of people in the statute to have the option of this form of wage dispersion like their school employee counterparts because of the role they play in the school system. Their value and intersectionality with school employees and the school district is so integral that they should have the option to be compensated like their peers.  

Such an amendment shows appreciation and equity to a group of people that care for our students and the education system.  

What is Senate Bill 50?  

Senate Bill 50 pertains to statutory provision 104.045, part of the Minimum Wage Law. The new language is amended to read: “104.045 (1) The counting of tips or similar gratuities toward fulfillment of the employer’s obligation under this 104.035 (3). The rules promulgated under this subsection shall allow an employer to require a tipped employee to use an electronic signature or other electronic means that uniquely identifies the employee to acknowledge the counting of tips or similar gratuities for purposes of s. 104.035 (3). In this subsection, “electronic signature” has the meaning given in s. 137.11 (8).”  

The legislature’s intent behind this amendment was to provide a means for employers to help their employees provide an accurate accounting of tips received so that the employers can meet the minimum wage requirements.  

While such legislation is helpful to ensure the employee is appropriately compensated, it may be burdensome on the employees to add another step to their tip counting. It may shortchange the employees who often use tips as a way to make ends meet. We look forward to seeing the effects of such a change on the tip-based industry.  

What is Senate Joint Resolution 69?

The most exciting piece of legislation for 2022 is undoubtedly Senate Joint Resolution 69, which focuses on those with disabilities. This Resolution recognizes Employment Choice First as a way to empower disabled individuals in Wisconsin in the workforce. Wisconsin recognizes the value of autonomy for those with disability. The Employment Choice First movement first focuses on understanding that disabled individuals deserve dignity and pride in their work if they can work. It allows them to work in various areas that meet their needs and skills and lead fulfilling lives in the workplace and organizations. This Resolution pushes the Wisconsin Legislation to create and provide opportunities for disabled individuals and put necessary policies and procedures in place to promote and preserve these ideals.  

Such legislation is precisely how Wisconsin should be trending for employment and labor laws. While this is not a traditional law, it shows that Wisconsin is dedicated to supporting its workers, especially those who are marginalized but are vastly important in providing value to the workspace.    

What are the Overall Changes for Labor Laws in 2022?  

The overall theme of the recent changes in employment and labor laws for 2022 seems to focus on inclusion and equity. Such changes are promising and show that the legislature has recognized the hardships of the masses as we reintegrate back into the workforce.  

While these changes are positive, you may still need to learn about your rights related to workers’ compensation and other labor laws. Please look at our articles for more information. O’Flaherty’s Wisconsin employment attorneys are your best source of information to succeed with claims or issues related to employment and labor issues. Call our office today at (630) 324-6666 for a consultation and more information.

Posted 
May 23, 2022
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