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In This Edition:

DHS Testing sites: COVID-19 tests around Wisconsin...

CARES Act: Breakdown of federal funds...

DWD FAQ's: Common questions and answers on unemloyment during COVID-19...

Fun in the Sun: City of Waukesha outdoor activities....

Quick Links: Helpful websites below...

  COVID-19 Testing Across Wisconsin

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This week the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) released information on COVID-19 testing in Wisconsin, including a list of symptoms, how to get a test, where they are administered, and more.

In addition to the many community sites popping up in Wisconsin, many local clinics and health systems are also administering tests on a daily basis. Click here to find a map and list of community-wide testing sites, and see information about Waukesha's site below. 

Waukesha Community COVID-19 testing site

Location: Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers - Waukesha

Adddress: 309 E North St, Waukesha, WI 53188

Days of Operation: Ongoing, Times: 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Phone Number: (262) 408-2530

Process: By appointment

**It is always recommended to call your health care provider if you have further or detailed questions.  


CARES ACT SPENDING

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On Tuesday, Governor Evers announced the Administration's preliminary spending plan for $1.17 billion of the federal CARES Act dollars as a statewide effort for COVID-19 testing, tracing, operations and equipment.

Below is a brief overview of the spending plan. 

TESTING

Test Kits; $202 million    

Local preparedness; $3 million, 30K each to 96 entities 

Local testing; $45 million  

Local coordinators; $10 million  

TRACING

Contact Tracing; $75 million   

EQUIPMENT

Ventilators; $40 million 

PPE; $150 million

FACILITIES

Hospitals; $445 million

Emergency Ops; $200 million                       

GRAND TOTAL         $1.17 Billion


DWD Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question: How Does the Supreme Court Ruling Affect Unemployment Claims?

Answer: As it relates to unemployment claims, DWD announced that the Supreme Court's ruling does not have any impact on submitted applications or pending claims. DWD will continue to process claims and adjudicate issues. Benefits will be paid when due, even if the person returns to work before their case has been addressed since back weeks will continue to be payable if a determination finds benefits are due. 

Question: What if I'm called back to work but can't return because I need to take care of my child since daycares/schools are not open?

Answer: Individuals not returning to work because they are the primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility closed due to COVID-19 may not be eligible for regular UI but could still be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Question: How do I report that I have turned down my employer's request that I return to work?

Answer: On your weekly claim for benefits for the week you turned down the offer, you would answer "yes" to the question “During the week, did you refuse any work that was offered to you?”

Question: As an employer, how do I notify UI that an employee refused to return to work?

Answer: Contact the UI Help Center (Employer Assistance Line)

Question: What Should Employers Consider When Opening Operations?

Answer: As employers consider whether they should resume operations or how they can return workers to their jobs, DWD's Equal Rights Division (ERD) reminds employers and employees to be mindful of the Fair Employment Act and other employment laws. In general, employers should be mindful of the following:

  1. Avoid making return to work decisions based on age, marital status, real or perceived disability, or any other protected bases.
  2. Make return to work decisions based on nondiscriminatory factors such as:
    • whether work duties are essential/non-essential,
    • the ability to perform job duties remotely, and
    • individual medical risks which may require accommodation.
  3. Make sure "legitimate nondiscriminatory criteria" do not unintentionally impact one protected class over another.
  4. Avoid blanket policies that treat individuals with disabilities differently.
  5. Instead, engage in an interactive accommodation process where needed.

It is unlawful to retaliate against a worker for engaging in legally protected activity – which can include requesting medical accommodation or complaining about unsafe work conditions. Employers should work with HR or legal counsel to avoid unlawful retaliation.

Question: My employer is reopening for business, but I do not feel comfortable returning to work. Do I qualify for Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

Answer: In most cases, no. Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. In this example, the individual—not the employer—is choosing not to work and, therefore, would be ineligible. However, the facts of each circumstance are important. An investigation would be conducted to determine if you would still be eligible. Please see the Claimant Handbook Part 6 Eligibility Issue, Common Disqualifications.

In regard to PUA, an individual who, without advice from a health care provider to self-quarantine, does not go to work due to general concerns about exposure to COVID-19, and who does not meet any of the other COVID-related criteria for PUA, is not eligible for PUA. 

Question: How do I know if my Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application has been submitted successfully?

Answer: When a claimant has successfully submitted their PUA applications, a large red box will be displayed across the top of their claimant portal dashboard containing the following message: "Your application has been received."

Question: I receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments. Am I eligible for UI or PUA?

Answer: An individual cannot receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments and Wisconsin unemployment benefits concurrently (See s. 108.04(12)(f), Wis. Stats.). If an individual is receiving SSDI, they must report this information on their initial claim and weekly claim certifications.

Question: I am a teacher/school employee who works during the normal school year. How does my educational employment impact my eligibility for UI benefits?

Answer: Educational employment can create an eligibility issue. 

Looking ahead to summer break, educational employment holds will be placed for the week of June 8, 2020. As advised by DOL, DWD will have to investigate the summer break period and determine whether educational employees who file claims have reasonable assurance they will return to their position during the next term. For general information regarding educational employment, please see "What Teachers and Other School Year Employees Should Know About Unemployment Insurance" on DWD’s website: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/publications/ui/ucb-17141-p.pdf

Question: Are private school employees eligible for state UI benefits?

Answer: Typically, private schools are subject to UI coverage requirements to the same extent as public schools. If the private school is connected to a church, the work may be excluded. An individual who works in both covered and excluded employment should file a UI claim first as their eligibility for state UI must be evaluated before they may apply for PUA.  An individual who works in only excluded employment should file a PUA claim. 

Question: I am a student-worker at my college. Am I eligible for UI benefits?

Answer: Students should apply for UI benefits if there is any question on their eligibility. While work for an educational institution while a student there is considered "excluded employment" for purposes of regular UI state benefits, students may have income from other employment that allows them to qualify for regular UI benefits. If a student is denied regular state UI benefits, they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Question: I attend school full-time and I am available for part-time work. I have been denied regular UI because of my lack of base period wages and/or lack of availability. Would I be eligible for any other type of program?

Answer: If you are unemployed due to one of the COVID-19 scenarios, you could apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). For additional information go to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/pua/.

Question: How can employees and employers work together to ensure workplace safety?

Answer: Communication between workers and management – including supervisors, site managers, human resource representatives and health and safety managers – is a critical means to identify and address potential safety and health issues, including potential concerns over COVID-19 at the workplace.

Question: What options are available for employees concerned about workplace safety?

Answer: Workers who are concerned that their private-sector employer is not keeping their workplace safe from COVID-19 can file a complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Additional details and resources are available online

Question: Will my unemployment benefits be garnished due to a past overpayment or forfeiture?

Answer: If a claimant has a benefit overpayment, they may receive partial unemployment benefits as well as up to $300 of the $600 weekly federal pandemic unemployment compensation. The federal pandemic unemployment compensation is paid automatically if the claimant is eligible for regular UI.

Question: I heard that Wisconsin’s Unemployment Trust Fund may run out of money due to the high volume of claims. What impact would this have on my benefits?

Answer: If the Wisconsin UI Trust Fund is exhausted, Wisconsin will need to borrow from the federal government and will continue to pay benefits, as it did during the Great Recession. 


City of Waukesha Parks and Outdoor Activities 

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City of Waukesha parks, playgrounds and outdoor facilities had previously been closed due to COVID-19. Starting Wednesday May 20th, all City of Waukesha park playgrounds and restroom facilities are now OPEN. In addition, the Tennis/Pickleball Courts are now open. The following are the current city guidelines for court use:

  • Restricted to Singles play only
  • Groups and/or gatherings are not allowed
  • Maintain Physical distancing of 6 feet or more
  • Entrance/Exit gates will be locked “open” allowing user to enter and exit without touching surfaces
  • Court use should be limited to one hour if individuals are waiting to utilize the facility

We recommend using hand sanitizer and hand washing after touching court components.

Residents use these and all City facilities at their own risk. Playgrounds are not sanitized by City employees.

Restrooms will be cleaned two times per day (approximately mid-day and end of day).

Residents who choose to use City facilities are encouraged to frequently wash their hands and utilize proper COVID-19 safety measures as recommended by the CDC. Click here for a list of all City parks and outdoor areas.   


Quick Links 

WEDC re-opening guidelines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin Hospitals Association - Healthcare System Updates

COVID-19 State Services

Assembly Republican COVID-19 Resource Page 

SBA Wisconsin Office

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance

WI DWD Unemployment Insurance Information in Spanish

American Red Cross

Local Dining Options