Joint Task Force on Payroll Fraud and Worker Misclassification Submits Annual Report to Governor
MADISON – The Joint Task Force on Payroll Fraud and Worker Misclassification submitted its 2020-2021 annual report to Gov. Tony Evers yesterday. Worker misclassification is the unlawful practice of labeling employees as independent contractors in order to avoid giving them critical benefits and protections, like minimum wage, overtime compensation, family and medical leave, and unemployment insurance.
The new report comes a few weeks after Evers announced his Badger Bounce Back Budget, which contains the following provisions recommended in last year’s Task Force report:
- Three new unemployment insurance field auditors to investigate misclassification;
- Re-creation of the Construction Contractor Registration program at the Department of Safety and Professional Services;
- Requirement to provide outreach and education on worker misclassification to certain entities;
- Creation of an escalating penalty structure for repeat violations of worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance laws around worker classification, an escalating administrative penalty for repeat offenders, and continued referral for criminal prosecution for subsequent violations; and
- Requirement that the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) develop and make available to employers and on its website information regarding worker classification laws, requirements, and penalties for noncompliance.
This year’s report contains these, and other recommendations:
- Create a statutory Insurance Fraud Bureau of Investigations;
- Require insurers and self-insured employers to report worker’s compensation premium and application fraud to DWD; and
- Require DWD’s Equal Rights Division to investigate and adjudicate misclassification within the concept of labor standards.
“The work performed by the Task Force members and support staff that assist them in their work was anything but routine business in 2020,” said Task Force Chair Danielle Williams, DWD Assistant Deputy. “Despite the challenges the past year has brought, the Task Force has once again produced a report with meaningful reforms designed to level the playing field for employers who follow the law and help enforce our state’s existing worker protections.”
To view the report and find additional information on Wisconsin’s worker classification laws, please visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/misclassification/.