State labor laws are a set of rules and regulations that govern employment relationships between employers and employees within each state. Every state has its own labor laws that cover a range of areas, including minimum wage, overtime pay, worker’s compensation, discrimination, and workplace safety.
We have created a series of articles that focus on state labor laws for each state in the US. These articles provide an overview of the labor laws in each state.
In each, we cover the key provisions of state labor laws, such as minimum wage rates, overtime requirements, and other employment-related regulations. We also discuss how state labor laws compare to federal labor laws and highlight any unique features or exceptions that may exist in a particular state.
Our state labor law articles are designed to be a valuable resource for both employers and employees. Whether you are a business owner looking to comply with state labor laws or an employee seeking to assert your rights, we hope they provide the information you need to navigate the complex world of state labor laws.
Some frequently asked questions...
Wisconsin, like most states in the US, practices the rule of “at-will employment” when it comes to terminating employment.
Simply put, the employer or employee can terminate the employment at any time, for any reason, without having to give a specific explanation.
Following termination in Wisconsin, employers are required to pay the final paycheck of their employee(s) on the next payday.
If the employer fails to do so, the employee can file a wage complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Not in the initial application phase.
To level the playing field for job applicants with criminal records, Wisconsin has included the “Ban-the-box” law in its Fair Employment Law.
This law bans inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history during the initial application phase and postponing any background checks until later in the hiring process.
Wisconsin employees may have the option to keep their health insurance through the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
This is applicable for employers with at least 20 employees, and can provide up to 36 months of continued insurance.
This provision is intended for workers who may be going through a sudden life event, such as job loss, reduced work hours, divorce, a health issue preventing them from working, or a similarly stressful event involving a family member.
Meanwhile, all employees – regardless of the size of their company – can benefit from Wisconsin Mini-COBRA, which can provide 18 months of insurance protection and be used after federal COBRA coverage expires.
Both plans have price requirements in place, capping costs at 102% of the original price.
It’s worth noting that employers in Wisconsin with 50 or more employees, who intend to stop health care benefits for current or retired workers, or their dependents, need to give them a heads up 60 days in advance, as per the Cessation of Healthcare Benefits Law.
This means sending out written notice to affected parties and putting up a poster that’s easy to see in the workplace.
Non-compliance may lead to paying retroactive premiums or reimbursing medical expenses incurred during the notice period.
In Wisconsin, whistleblower laws are in place that protect employees who report any suspected or seen violation of state or federal laws.
These laws put a stop to employers who might want to retaliate, threaten or fire any employee for filing a complaint in good faith.
In Wisconsin, there are no specific laws that mandate employers to give their workers meal breaks or rest periods while they are working.
But, if an employer decides to provide such breaks as a perk, they need to abide by a few rules. Namely, any rest period that lasts for up to 30 minutes must be paid, and it should be considered as work time.
As for meal periods, they need to last longer than half an hour in order for them to be unpaid.
Additionally, during the meal break, the employee must be allowed to leave the company premises and be free from any work obligations.
Employers in Wisconsin are required to adhere to the regulations outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when conducting background checks on potential employees.
As part of this process, employers must give written notice to individuals whose background data they plan to collect.
It’s worth noting that certain occupations like child care center staff, foster parents, school personnel, direct care providers, and specific public transit and packaging service agency personnel require criminal background checks.
For tipped employees, who receive more than $30 in monthly tips, the minimum wage is $2.33 an hour, while those categorized as “opportunity employees” can be paid as low as $2.13.
If their direct wages together with tips do not add up to the regular minimum wage, employers must make up the difference.
To conduct workplace drug or alcohol testing, employers must have a written policy in place.
According to Wisconsin law, employees cannot be compelled to pay for medical exams required by employer, including drug and alcohol testing.
Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), all uniformed service members are eligible for unpaid military leave, allowing them to leave for deployment and be reinstated to their previous position upon their return.
However, there are certain conditions that must be met in order to be eligible, including:
- Providing notice to the employer of military service
- Serving for under 5 years
- Receiving a non-dishonorable or non-disqualifying military discharge
- Returning to work in a timely manner.
Those who meet these conditions are entitled to maintain their benefits and seniority level upon returning to work.
In the state of Wisconsin, it is mandatory for employers to maintain accurate and permanent employee records.
In cases where employees are not paid on a time basis, their output also needs to be recorded.
These records need to be accessible for inspection and retained for a minimum of 3 years. Employee records include: employee’s name, employee’s address, employee’s date of birth, dates of hiring and termination, time of beginning and end of each workday, among others.
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