CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has taken the first step toward creating an emergency rule that would allow the agency to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. The previous waiver created under 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 expired on February 6.

Earlier this week, DWD published a scope statement in the Legislature’s administrative register. If and when the scope statement is approved, DWD can begin drafting the rule. The earliest a new rule could take effect is March 5 at best.

The emergency rule is intended as a temporary measure to bridge the need for a waiting week waiver during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule will offer relief to claimants who do not have to wait a week to begin receiving unemployment benefits, and to employers by ensuring that 50 percent of first week benefit payments are federally funded. Without a waiver in place, first week unemployment benefits must be charged to or reimbursed by employers.

For up to date information on current and proposed DWD emergency and administrative rules, visit

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