Worker’s Comp Advisory Council Agrees on 2019-20 Bill

Last month, Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) approved draft legislation for the 2019-20 legislative session. Each session, management and labor members of WCAC come to an agreement and introduce a bill on worker’s compensation reforms.

This session’s agreed-upon legislation includes moving worker’s compensation proceedings from the Department of Administration (DOA) Division of Hearings & Appeals back to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). A previous session’s state budget moved those worker’s compensation positions to DOA. This session’s WCAC bill seeks to move the positions back to DWD. (Recall, Gov. Tony Evers proposed this move in his 2019-21 state budget, but the provision was removed as non-fiscal policy by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.)

Also notable in this session’s bill are changes to PTSD coverage for law enforcement employees. The bill would allow law enforcement officers to bring claims for worker’s compensation for PTSD if the conditions of liability are proven by a “preponderance of the evidence.” The bill would eliminate current requirements that law enforcement demonstrate that their PTSD is based on greater than the everyday emotional strain of their jobs. Under the bill, covered injuries cannot result from an act of good faith by the employer. These PTSD coverage provisions are identical to 2019 SB 511/AB 569 and represent a compromise among stakeholders from last session’s PTSD coverage bill.

Other provisions in the proposed 2019-20 WCAC bill include:

  • Provisions related to employee leasing companies.
  • Clarifying when an employer becomes subject to the worker’s compensation law.
  • Clarifying that the worker’s compensation claim statute of limitations applies to employers, employers’ insurance companies, and any other named party.

Notably, this session’s legislation does not include a medical fee schedule. In previous sessions, inclusion of a medical fee schedule was part of what prevented the bill from moving forward in the Legislature.

This session’s bill is still a preliminary draft and has not yet been introduced in the Legislature.