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Proudly Serving the Fox Cities of Wisconsin

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  • 10 Jan 2019 7:50 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    In 2018, the Wisconsin State Council SHRM established the Enterprising Leadership Grant. This grant supports a chapter or chapters that partner with another WI-based organization with the purpose of promoting communication and collaboration between HR and other business professionals/organizations. The grant helps fund initiatives that are innovative and strive to bring business professionals together toward a common cause, led by the HR community. Up to $5,000 was available for Wisconsin SHRM Chapter(s) to implement an activity or initiative in the area of Enterprising HR Leadership.  Criteria include having 1) a partnership with an organization outside the SHRM that has goals/objectives that help advance the HR profession and 2) a joint planned activity or initiative with that organization that demonstrates Enterprising HR Leadership Communication, Collaboration and/or Education of/between business professionals. 

    WISHRM is happy to recognize three Chapters for their leadership efforts with 2018 WISHRM Enterprising Leadership Grants – Central Wisconsin SHRM, Fox Valley SHRM, and Metro Milwaukee SHRM.

    Central Wisconsin SHRM is working on partnering with the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce and Everest Area School District at Weston Elementary to enhance their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Design, Math) program that will put the school at the forefront of trans-disciplinary offerings to their students. Through the partnership, CWSHRM HR professionals and business member volunteers will be asked to assist and engage students in learning challenges by exploring, collaborating, and sharing their own creative and innovative experiences.

    Fox Valley SHRM introduced a student membership for students going to school full time in an undergraduate or technical program with a goal to engage and retain students to become future HR Professionals within this area and future Professional FVSHRM Members. This initiative focuses on attracting students, engaging them by finding opportunities to build connections, providing development opportunities to prepare them for post-graduation and then ensuring retention within the local area and within the SHRM community.

    In partnership with ASIS International (American Society for Industrial Security), Metro Milwaukee SHRM is proposing to do a program in 1Q19 on Crisis Intervention. The plan is to offer a 2-day Crisis Intervention Partner (CIP) certification to MM SHRM members.  This certification would prepare participants to effectively manage a mental health crisis in the workplace.  Based on feedback received following co-sponsored events, MM SHRM identified the need for this type of preparation.  The funds would be used to bring in trainers from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to provide the certification.  This will be the first program in the area that we hope will expand to other parts of Wisconsin. The program would be considered a pilot for the first year with the anticipation of expanding it to the Madison and Fox Valley areas as NAMI, SHRM, and ASIS have chapters in these areas.

    We look forward to learning more about the success of these programs. 

  • 01 Jan 2019 9:38 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    On January 3, 2019, the 115th Congress officially ends.  Anything pending will terminate and will require introduction to the 116th Congress to be considered by committees and eventually both sides of Congress.  Let’s take a look at what happened this past month as we round out 2018:

      ·         IRS increased mileage reimbursement rates to $0.58/mile beginning January 1, 2019.
      ·         A district court in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a healthcare reform) was unconstitutional.  However, the law remains in place while the matter is appealed.  See this summary from Associated Benefits and Risk Consulting for a rundown of your continuing obligations.
      ·         EEOC reminded us that conditions related to pregnancy (think: preclampsia) can be a disability and warrant consideration of accommodations, including leaves of absence, even if the employee doesn’t yet qualify for FMLA.  See The Employer Handbook blog for more details.
      ·         On December 10, 2018, a new tax-relief package was introduced, which would delay the Cadillac tax to 2023; allow employees to use 401(k) funds to pay for a new a child; and allow smaller employers to ban together to create a common 401(k) plan.  However, no further action has been taken on this bill.
      ·         The tax reform bill that went into effect 1/1/18 modified tax-free benefits like qualified parking.  IRS recently issued guidance for non-profit, tax exempt organizations related to the qualified parking benefits- see SHRM for more.
      ·         For federal contractors, check out OFCCP’s new directives, which SHRM says will result in more audits next year.
      ·         DOL’s Wage and Hour Division issued more opinion letters recently:

    Don’t forget to check out the latest employment law update from Wisconsin SHRM’s legislative partner, Boardman Clark.


  • 06 Dec 2018 8:36 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    Mid-term elections are done!  (So we have a couple of months of empty mailboxes before the Presidential candidates start up for 2020…)  Check out SHRM’s
    for the next 2 years.

    ·         IRS raised 401(k) max contribution for 2019.  And 401(k) hardship withdrawals and transfers might get easier under proposed rules.

    ·         FSA contributions were raised to $2,700 for 2019.

    ·        USCIS is proposing changes to the way H-1B lottery system works.  For more details, see SHRM’s article.

    ·         DOL is proposing that employers seeking H-2B and H-2A visas would have to advertise the jobs online.

    ·        Although the federal government said DACA program was done in March, 2018, a court recently ruled the applications can continued to be processed.  Read more from SHRM.

    ·         Supreme Court decided this month that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
    applies to
    public employers of all sizes (unlike private sector,
    where the law applies to those with 20 or more employees).

    ·        If you have restaurant employees that get a tip credit, you may want to see DOL’s
    new opinion
    on the tip credit application to those also working in non-tipped work.

    ·        The deadline to get the 1095Cs to your employees was moved to March 4, 2019.  But the deadline to file your 1094/1095s did not change – that is still due to the IRS
    on February 28, 2019 (if filing by paper) or April 1, 2019 (if filing electronically).

    ·        The Wage & Hour Division of the DOL issued a new round of opinion letters this month, including:

    Don’t forget to check out WI SHRM’s legislative partner, Boardman Clark’s employment law update.


    Please call, email and/or Tweet your lawmakers to urge them to support the inclusion of H.R. 795/S. 796, Employer-Provided Education Assistance legislation, in a year-end package. These bipartisan, bicameral proposals would expand Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to include student loan repayment. Employers would be able to voluntarily provide student loan repayment as a tax-free benefit up t o $5,250 per year, per employee.

    A personal letter from HR professionals will reinforce the importance of student loan repayment as a benefit and will help build additional support for H.R.795/S. 796 to move the bills forward as lawmakers in the House and Senate negotiate year-end
    legislative deals.

    TAKE ACTION NOW: Visit SHRM's HR Policy Action Center to send a letter to your lawmakers as soon as possible to make an impact.

    - Fill out your contact information (be sure to enter your HOME mailing address since
    the system will correctly match you to your federal congressional district).

    - Personalize the template email language to include your message with your own story.
    - Click "submit."

  • 30 Nov 2018 6:45 AM | Nykki Milhaupt (Administrator)

    We are excited to present to you our latest Newsletter. We have many exciting updates and announcements to provide to you! Please click the link below to view our newsletter. 


  • 31 Oct 2018 7:32 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    A good summary of the important employment news you might have missed in this past month:

    • EEOC released preliminary data showing sexual harassment claims increased 12% in the last year since #MeToo.
    • DOL created voluntary reporting mechanisms to correct employee benefit plan issues. 
    • Proposed rules issued by DOL would expand the use of HRAs to pay for individual insurance premiums.  SHRM has a summary here.
    • DOL also proposed rules to create association 401(k) plans, allowing small employers to band together to offer retirement savings.  Check out SHRM’s article for more details.
    • If you are thinking about setting up an association health plan, there’s new compliance assistance available on employer.gov from DOL.
    • OSHA “clarified” its prior guidance on anti-retaliation provisions and the application to post-accident drug testing.  But see this article asking if the memo really provided any clarification.
    • OSHA is focusing on inspecting employers that failed to report injury data for the 2016 calendar year.
    • OSHA released the 2018 most-frequently cited workplace violations.
    • DOL updated the Labor Condition Application for H-1B visa applicants.
    • TN visas managed to make the cut in the newly-negotiated NAFTA agreement.
    • USCIS is set to propose H-1B lottery reform.
    • Social Security Administration increased the maximum earnings subject to SS payroll tax for 2019.
    • The Supreme Court resumed session.  For a look at employment cases on the docket this year (ADEA and arbitration), check out this article from SHRM.  Here’s a more in-depth article about the arguments set forth in the case over whether independent truck drivers must arbitrate workplace claims.

    • The 7th Circuit Court rejected an employer’s argument that “sexual horseplay” is not actionable harassment under Title VII.  In essence, because the men engaged in horseplay with other men and excluded the women, the Court concluded that the harassment was based on the employee’s sex (albeit same sex as the harasser), finding in favor of the employee. 

    If you’re looking for an update on certain legislation, check out this tool from SHRM that tracks important employment legislation both at state and federal level.

    Don’t forget to check out the most recent case law update from WISHRM’s partner, BoardmanClark.


  • 21 Oct 2018 6:56 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    If you haven't checked your mail in awhile or watched any television, you might not realize there's a midterm election coming up.  But chances are the political ads have you informed to some extent.  Did you know historically that about 40% of those eligible to vote actually do so in a midterm election year? 

    If you wondered about the election this year, or the candidates, or just don't feel like you know enough to vote, we've got you covered! 

    The Candidates

    SHRM makes this really easy with a lookup tool they've built here.  Simply search by your zip code and you'll get a complete list of those running for both state and federal offices.  Some zip codes might cross multiple districts, so if you want to know exactly what will appear on your ballot, try this lookup tool from Ballotpedia, which searches based on your actual home address.

    This year, everyone in the state of Wisconsin will be voting for the one of our federal Senate seats.  Currently that seat is filled by Tammy Baldwin (D).  Her seat is being challenged by Leah Vukmir (R).  In addition, everyone in Wisconsin will be voting for the state Governor, which is currently filled by Scott Walker (R).  He is being challenged by Tony Evers (D), Phillip Anderson (L), and Michael White (G).

    Your House Representative must run for re-election every 2 years, so you'll also see that name on your ballot.  For example, if you live in the 8th Congressional District (Appleton & Green Bay area), the current incumbent, Mike Gallagher (R), is running against Beau Lieugeois (D).  For those in the 6th Congressional District (south of Appleton, including Neenah), you'll see Glenn Grothman (R) try to keep his seat from challenger Dan Kohl (D).   

    Within the state, half of the state Senate is up for election, so you may or may not have to vote for your state Senator.  All members of the Wisconsin Assembly are up for vote every 2 years, so you'll be voting on your Assembly member this year as well.  You can find those candidates specific to your address based on either the SHRM or Ballotpedia lookup tools, linked above.

    The positions

    Great, so we know who's running.  But how do you choose?  Well, this does require a little bit of work. 'There's several fantastic tools available from VoteSmart.org.  That organization is non-partisan and does not accept donations from corporations, politicians, or government, so it's truly non-partisan.  You can type in the name of any candidate running mentioned above and find everything from their bio, to their actual voting record (if applicable), to who is funding that politician, to what positions they take on important issues. 


    You must be registered to vote in Wisconsin.  The deadline to register in advance is already passed, but luckily, you can register at the poll on the day of the election (November 6).  You will need to bring proof of your current residence though in order to complete registration.  See a complete list on the 2nd page of this application.

    You can check here if you are already registered to vote.


    If you want to vote in advance of November 6, you can learn more about absentee voting here.

    To find your polling place, you can check out this link from Wisconsin.  Make sure you bring a photo ID to vote.

    See you November 6th! 

  • 14 Oct 2018 8:19 PM | Nykki Milhaupt (Administrator)

    Are you curious what is on the horizon for FVSHRM? Take a look at our newsletter for our upcoming events, updates and announcements. 

    FVSHRM Newsletter (3).pdf

  • 01 Oct 2018 12:07 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    A good summary of the important employment news you might have missed in this past month:

    ·         DOL issued new FMLA forms (but spoiler alert: same as the old ones, other than the expiration date)

    ·         DOL created two new websites – employer.gov and worker.gov to provide important, easy-to-use compliance information

    ·         NLRB issued a proposed rule about joint employers, requiring there to be direct control over the worker for a finding of joint employment.  For a summary of the update, check out SHRM’s article.

    ·         A “Tax Reform 2.0” measure passed the Ways & Means Committee and will head to the House for a vote, which would reduce compliance burdens and promote retirement savings.  SHRM has more details here.

    ·         IRS updated draft instructions for the 1095 and 1094s owed under ACA, though it appears to be minimal changes from last year.

    ·         A bill (HR 3798 Save American Workers Act of 2017) that would change “full time” under healthcare reform to 40 hours per week made it through the Ways & Means Committee.  SHRM reported that the House would likely vote on it the last week of September, but it didn’t make the cut in September.

    ·         There’s a new FCRA notice, which must be used after 9/21/18 for those providing rights and responsibilities notice after taking adverse action based on third-party background checks. Godfrey & Kahn provide a summary here.

    ·         Wisconsin was recently the focus of an enforcement surge by ICE, resulting in 83 arrests.  Check out this SHRM article about ICE raids and how those differ from an audit.

    ·         Have you (are you thinking about) instituting paid leave to get that new paid family leave credit under the tax reform bill?  IRS just issued some guidance on the credit.

    ·         DOL wants to remove patient lifts from the list of hazardous equipment a 16 or 17-year-old minor would not be allowed to operate.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is open for public comment for 60 days.

    ·         If you are in the hotel industry and use H-2B visas, DOL has new compliance tools for you (but is also ramping up investigations). 


    If you’re looking for an update on certain legislation, check out this tool from SHRM that tracks important employment legislation both at state and federal level.

    Don’t forget to check out the most recent case law update from WISHRM’s partner, BoardmanClark.


  • 24 Sep 2018 4:57 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

     Ahh… the age old question – is equal fair?  My children are constantly reminded in our house that equal and fair are not necessarily the same thing.  Let’s take parental leave as an example. 

    As a mother with two children (and one of them a pretty traumatic birth), I certainly appreciate the argument that mothers should be entitled to more parental leave.  For starters, they have the whole medical incapacity thing that fathers don’t have.  But a recent EEOC settlement may have you second guessing that argument.

    Estee Lauder (probably best known for makeup and skin care products) had a paid parental leave policy, which went above and beyond what any law required them to provide.  New mothers were provided 20 weeks of paid leave for bonding.  In addition, the first 6 weeks back to work they could temporarily modify their work schedule, to help ease the transition to work.  Sounds pretty good…. Unless you are a new father.  New fathers were provided less paid time and were not provided the same temporary modified work schedule upon return. 

    EEOC filed a lawsuit against Estee Lauder alleging sex discrimination against males.  On July 17, 2018, Estee Lauder agreed to settle with the EEOC for $1.1 million dollars.  In addition, their parental leave policy provides the same 20 weeks of paid leave to all parents (though mothers get to start that bonding leave after their period of medical incapacity ends).  See EEOC press release here: https://www1.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/7-17-18c.cfm


     It turns out that EEOC says that bonding time does need to be equal to be fair.  If the organization wants to provide separate time to mothers because of medical incapacity, that’s certainly fine (assuming you provide similar leave to all those who are medically incapacitated from work).  But if you want to provide bonding time, you need to do that on an equal basis.

     So if you just offer STD, which pays for medical incapacity, then fathers are likely using PTO or taking unpaid leave following the birth of a child and that’s perfectly ok under Wisconsin & federal law.  But if you are being generous to offer paid leave benefits for bonding purposes, make sure you are clear what part of the benefit is for bonding (as opposed to medical) and that the bonding part is made equally available to any parent (even those not physically giving birth).

    We’d love to hear from you – do you offer paid parental leave (other than STD or allowing using of PTO/sick during FMLA)?


  • 21 Sep 2018 8:22 AM | Elaine Ruh (Administrator)

    Hi Members Fox Valley SHRM,

    I'm a business owner and Chair of the Board at B.A.B.E.S., Inc. Child Abuse Prevention Program in Appleton. B.A.B.E.S., Inc. has been serving our community for over 21 years by strengthening young families with young children.

     Our Strengthening Families Program reaches vulnerable families, provides support through respite care, education and counseling so child abuse and neglect does not take place, saving the next generation from negative effects.

     We have an upcoming team-building activity that some of your members may be interested in.

     On Sunday September 30, we will be taking a team of 30 volunteers to Lambeau Field to clean sky boxes (many hands make light work). In return, PMI, the marketing arm of the Packers organization will make a generous donation to B.A.B.E.S., Inc. Dozens of non-profits will be on site that same day and will benefit from similar donations.

     Attached is a flyer for distribution. Please help us continue our work. Questions are welcome. Lambeau.doc


     Thank you,

    Yvonne Kehl
    Autumn Hill, LLC
    Creative Communications

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