Fox Valley SHRM's delegation spent last Wednesday in Madison for WISHRM's Day on the Hill Event. (Read more here for inside perspective of first-timer Elaine Ruh!) Here's a quick recap of the measures we discussed with our state assembly and senators, including WI SHRM's position on these matters:
* HR Standards (SB 634; AB 748). Wisconsin already has laws preventing local municipalities from passing their own paid sick leave laws or minimum wage standards. This bill would prohibit municipalities from creating other employment-based standards. While this is not yet an issue in Wisconsin, we've seen plenty of states where municipalities have passed these types of law, leaving a patchwork of standards for employers to have to navigate. WI SHRM advocates for statewide standards.
* Harmonization of state and federal FMLA (SB 490; AB 772). As many of you know, Wisconsin is a rare state that has it's own FMLA law, which was passed prior to the federal law. Due to the conflicts between the laws, it can be difficult to administer for employers. WI SHRM advocates for harmonization between these laws. The measures cited above would make a Wisconsin employer exempt from having to comply with the state law where federal law applied.
* Worker's Comp Cost Containment (SB665). Wisconsin is one of 6 states that does not have a medical fee schedule for work comp claims. As a result, Wisconsin employers pay 46% more for work comp insurance than their Midwest neighbors on average. WI SHRM advocates for the proposed fee schedule to help control costs.
We were lucky enough to be present during the last week of the Assembly's session, so our voices were impacting votes that were happening the very next day! So how did we do?
HR Standards: AB 748 passed the Assembly and was sent to the Senate. The Senate reconvenes on March 13, where the measure will likely be discussed.
FMLA Harmonization: Both the assembly and senate version of the bill remain in committee. This means the measure is unlikely to become law this year, but something WISHRM will continue to support.
Work Comp Fee Schedule: This measure is before the Senate and still in committee. However, since the Assembly is done with its session, unless a special session is called for a vote, this is unlikely to become law this year. WI SHRM will continue to support the passage of a measure to contain workers' compensation costs.
While Day on the Hill is over, there's still time to get involved. Tell your local representative that you support these measures. Tell them why - what impact does this have on your organization. And ask them to reach out to you if they have questions. After all, you likely have far more experience with the particulars of these bills than most of the representatives combined. Show off your skills and make a difference for our profession!