Agency Alert! DOL Announces New FMLA Forms and WI DWD Provides Unemployment Credit Instructions

July 20, 2020

Last week, the Department of Labor announced new Family Medical Leave Act forms were available on its website. (Note these forms are not applicable to the “Expanded FMLA” available under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Please don’t tell me you have no idea what I am talking about… )

The Department clarified, as with the previous forms, that these forms are optional. However, this writer strongly recommends using these forms to make sure you are not seeking more information than authorized by federal law. Also, the new forms are easier to read and drafted so that health care providers can quickly and easily fill out the required information. For example, the revised Certification for family member’s serious health condition specifically asks the health care provider to check a box or write a detailed statement regarding what type of “care” is necessary.

The certification forms for employees and their family members may be used when an employee requests leave under Wisconsin’s family medical leave law as well. However, remember that Wisconsin’s law does differ from federal FMLA in many aspects. Most of the other FMLA forms on the DOL’s website will either not be applicable or will need to be revised so as to comply with Wisconsin law.

The new forms can be found here.

Also last week, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development provided instruction on how employers can apply for relief from charges to their unemployment reserve fund accounts made in connection to Executive Order 72—the public health emergency declared by Gov. Evers in March.

Wisconsin employers must use Form UCB-18823-E to request this relief. The form must be submitted to the DWD within 30 days of the employee’s initial claim unless the claim was filed between May 17, 2020 and June 30, 2020, in which case the deadline is August 15, 2020. Employers can submit these documents by emailing them to the DWD, encrypting the documents and providing separate emails containing passwords for the encrypted documents. The subject line for all emails should be the employer’s Wisconsin UI Account Number.

The DWD assumes that processing these requests will take quite some time. Its computer systems are extremely antiquated, leaving staff with no choice but to enter each request manually. Anticipating a serious delay, the DWD announced that benefits charges and adjustments for March 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020 will not affect the employer’s 2021 tax rate.

The DWD also clarified how employers can secure an unemployment benefit reimbursement. Half of the unemployment benefits paid out by reimbursable employers from March 15, 2020 through December 26, 2020 will be charged to the DWD’s interest and penalty account. The employer must pay the other half to the DWD, at which point it can request relief by using Form UCB-18823-E, as discussed above.

(Special thanks to Lucas Sczygelski for his assistance with this article.)

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