Bill would refine state’s unemployment insurance system

The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to pass a bill today that will increase the maximum weekly unemployment payout but also install new limits upon whom can collect the benefits.

The bill to refine the state’s unemployment insurance system was approved by the Republican-controlled Senate Tuesday on a party line vote.

The plan would increase the highest monthly benefit by $7 to $370.

The bill would also repeal a program that allows claimants to receive an additional 26 weeks of benefits if they are enrolled in worker training. Inmates in work-release programs would also be barred from receiving unemployment benefits.

Among the other changes are:

  • A standardized handbook will clarify the responsibilities of both the employer and employee on what unemployment insurance is and when it is paid.  
  • An online employer complaint system will simplify the procedures employers follow to report suspected UIC fraud. 
  • The number of fraud workers to investigate fraud in the UIC system would be increased.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said, “Today Republicans in the Senate passed common sense reforms for the business community in Wisconsin. The reforms in this bill come with the approval of the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council and works to clean up some of the issues with the UI process as well as working to maintain the solvency of the fund. SB200 includes a $12 million dollar benefit increase, while still resulting in a net UI trust fund savings of $11.5 million annually. This is another step in the right direction to make Wisconsin a leading state for the business community by removing some of the challenges due to outdated unemployment laws.”

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