Speaker Vos, Sen. Marklein Author Workforce Recovery Legislation

Bill to encourage individuals to return-to-work amid massive worker shortage

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) today announced workforce recovery legislation encouraging unemployed individuals to return-to-work amid a massive, statewide worker shortage. The legislation ends Wisconsin’s participation in federal unemployment compensation enhancement programs that provide a disincentive for returning to work.

“The employers in my Senate District are desperate for workers,” Sen. Marklein said. “They have significantly raised wages, are offering sign-on bonuses and are begging people to work for them. But they cannot compete with the generous federal unemployment benefits that nearly double UI checks. We need to return to regular unemployment compensation programs and encourage able-bodied Wisconsinites to get back to work.”

“The pandemic is now under control and we need to get people back into the workforce so Wisconsin's economy can continue its recovery,” Speaker Vos said. “Our economy is reopening and millions are vaccinated. The federal enhancements only keep people on the sidelines while businesses who desperately need workers struggle to meet demand.”

The bill ends Wisconsin’s participation in the following federal programs:

a. Pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program
b. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment compensation (PEUC) program
c. Federal pandemic unemployment compensation (FPUC) program
d. Mixed earner unemployment compensation (MEUC) program

It also prohibits the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) from waiving the work search requirements for any reason that is related to COVID. As of today, 21 other states have opted out of the federal unemployment insurance benefit enhancers, which are set to expire
on September 6, 2021.

Once enacted, the Wisconsin unemployment compensation program will return to pre-pandemic operations and provide an ongoing safety net for those who need it.