In Wisconsin, unemployed workers who otherwise qualify for benefits may typically collect unemployment insurance benefits for 26 weeks. Since the start of the Great Recession, employees have at times been able to collect benefits for as many as 99 weeks. Currently, individuals who became unemployed in early 2011 may collect benefits in Wisconsin for up to 73 weeks. That can mean up to $26,499 in unemployment benefits for unemployed workers who earn the maximum weekly benefit rate of $363.
Unemployment insurance claimants in Wisconsin now have to wait one week after their separation of employment for their unemployment benefits to begin. Employers and the unemployment trust fund will likely save a great deal of money because of this change, which appeared in this year's budget bill rather than as a result of formal proposal, bill, or recommendation from the UI Advisory council, a committee with both management and employee representatives charged with making legislative recommendations and insuring state compliance with federal laws. The practical effect of this change is that it will prevent workers with temporary layoffs from claiming and receiving unemployment benefits during short layoffs lasting less than one week.