The Wisconsin unemployment insurance rules have changed some, so ought to cover some of the important changes of the bunch, as well as consider whether or not these changes mean that employers in the state need to update their unemployment insurance labor law poster. All very good points to cover, but let’s start on the first one first:
First, the new law changes to the unemployment insurance system make it so that employees who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits must now try to find and secure work—or at least search for a new job—at least twice per week. Another change comes when people who are receiving unemployment benefits is doing so because they are laid off. The new rules state that the state officials now have to ask the employee’s former employer verify that in fact the employee was laid off
Getting back to that work search that the laid off employee was supposed to do at least two times a week under the new law, the state authorities can now require that the employee provide proof that of this job search the following week if the state authorities so choose.
The new laws also make it easier for an employee to file a claim with the state authorities. No longer do they have to show up at the actual office near them to file an unemployment claim, but they can do so using the Internet. Welcome to the 21st century, Wisconsin. The employee can also do their so called weekly certification without having to go into the office. They can do so by using the phone, mailing it in by snail mail, or again, by using the Internet. If the employee does it by phone, they will know as soon as the phone call is over whether or not their certification has been accepted or not.
The Wisconsin Dept. of Labor wants to remind everyone that unemployment benefits are taxable income, on both state and federal income tax returns.
When collecting unemployment benefits, many people forget that they will eventually have to pay the taxman. As in most states, Wisconsin citizens have the option of having federal and state taxes withheld from unemployment benefit checks. However, a majority of those collecting unemployment benefits choose not to have taxes withheld.
What if you don’t know exactly how much your unemployment benefits were for 2006? The answer is simple. In January, the Wisconsin unemployment office mailed 1099 statements to everyone who collected unemployment benefits for 2006. The statements show the amount of benefits or unearned compensation paid. They also give the amount of any deductions to benefits, such as court ordered child support or court-ordered restitution. The state also furnishes complete information on unearned payments to the IRS and to the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue.
If you collected unemployment compensation for any part of 2006 and you have not received a 1099 form, contact your local Wisconsin Dept. of Labor office. They will verify your current address and re-issue the 1099. You should receive the forms within 1 week. The local Wisconsin Dept. of Labor office can also issue 1099s for previous years, if you need them for your records.
The 1099 is the same form that is used by companies to report payments to independent contractors. Workers who are considered employees, rather than independent contractors, normally have taxes withheld from the paychecks. They receive annual W-2s, which detail their earnings and all deductions. Independent contractors, like those collecting unemployment benefits, don’t have taxes withheld form their payments. Instead, they must pay the tax bill when they file their income taxes. If their earnings are high enough, independent contractors must make quarterly estimated income tax payments.
Part of the WIRED effort, a recent program includes a Wisconsin unemployment grant of up to $5 million to train workers in the Southeastern Wisconsin area. The grant includes an initial gift of $500,000 for training in the region. After a regional implementation plan is prepared, the region will be given an additional $4.5 million grant under the program.
The WIRED program is an attempt by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration to help struggling regional economies in several areas. “Investing in area workforces through this collaborative approach will boost entire regions’ economic vitality,” U. S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said when announcing a recent Wisconsin unemployment grant.
Technically, the program is the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development initiative, although it is usually referred to by the acronym WIRED. WIRED is a program conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor to improve the economy in troubled regions by training workers.
Under this federal program, the Southeastern area will use the Wisconsin unemployment grant to improve the area economy by training employees. The first group of WIRED grants awarded $195 million to 13 regions. WIRED has proven highly successful in recent years in improving an area’s unemployment. The grants are awarded based on a competition involving the state governors. In total, this second round of WIRED grants will exceed $65 million.
Secretary of Labor Chao proclaims, “This regional economic development strategy transcends political boundaries to better leverage a region’s assets to help workers succeed in the 21st century worldwide economy.”
The most recent WIRED program of up to $4.5 million dollars is a Wisconsin unemployment grant to help workers in Wisconsin’s Southeastern region. The region has long suffered high unemployment and poor economic performance. WIRED addressed underperforming area economies by training workers. The U. S. Department of Labor recently announced that many Wisconsin workers are among those to benefit from a grant of up to $65 million.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman recently announced Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for November 2006 was unchanged from a year ago at 4.3%.
“Wisconsin’s job market continued to improve last month with nearly 19,000 more jobs than last November,” Secretary Gassman said. “Despite the state’s overall good labor market figures, challenges remain in some parts of the state, which we will continue to focus on.”
The November 2006 data is the most recent available. It shows an increase of 18,700 jobs in the state from November 2005. The gains were led by the professional and business services sector and the health care sector. Each of these industries registered nearly 10,000 new jobs in Wisconsin since last November. The construction sector also showed employment gains over the year, increasing by 3,800 jobs.
The seasonally adjusted Wisconsin unemployment rate for November 2006 was 4.7%. This is a slight increase of 0.1 % from 4.6% in both the previous month and the previous November. Total employment in Wisconsin increased by 41,100 from last year, on a seasonally adjusted basis, to 2,940,800.
Total non-farm wage and salary employment posted a net gain of 3,000 jobs over the month. November’s overall net gain was a seasonal mix centered on 9,400 more jobs in retail trade, reflecting holiday hiring, which was offset by a seasonal decrease of 7,200 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector. Other noteworthy job gains over the month were measured in local government; and educational and health services.
When comparing different months, seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid comparison. For example, only the seasonally adjusted figures are valid when comparing October 2006 to November 2006. This is because a number of industries, including construction and agriculture, employ more workers during the warmer months. Non-seasonally adjusted numbers are valuable in year-to-year comparisons of the same month, for example, when comparing November 2005 versus November 2006