COVID-19 Staffing Changes
As an employer, you may have to make difficult choices about employees due to concerns about cash flow and keeping the business afloat. As you make these difficult decisions, we want to keep you informed about what you need to know and what opportunities are available.

Employee Work-Share
The Employee Work-Share Program avoids layoffs, allowing workers to remain employed & employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity. In order to participate in a Work-Share Program, the employer must submit and have a plan approved by the Department of Workforce Development; as part of this plan, the employer must designate employees who are part of the “work unit” or “affected unit”: any unit of 20 or more employees that is designated by the employer.

As the situation evolves, revisit this website to see if modifications have been made to requirements.

Unemployment Benefits - What Does this Mean for Employees?
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has been providing updated FAQs on their website regarding unemployment and COVID-19. There is a lot of good information on this website about what workers may qualify for unemployment benefits and some of the details of unemployment. Recent changes (within the last few days):
  1. Governor Tony Evers has asked the state legislature to repeal the "waiting week" for those applying for unemployment insurance - the purpose of this measure is to get money into the hands of unemployed workers as quickly as possible.
  2. This measure would also waive the requirement that Unemployment Insurance claimants conduct at least 4 weekly work searches during COVID-19.

If you do need to layoff employees, you can direct them here to apply for unemployment . The more robust Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance Handbook for Employers is available on the DWD site.

What is an Employee Furlough vs. a Layoff?
A furlough is an alternative to a layoff. Layoffs are generally a temporary separation from payroll. With a furlough, you require the employer to work fewer hours or take a certain amount of time off.

What about Taxes?
The federal government is giving filers until July 15 to file their taxes (for up to $1 million owed. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained that the $1 million amount would help cover many pass-through entities and small businesses . It is still recommended that you submit your 2019 income tax return to the federal government by April 15, especially if you’re due a refund and need cash.

Some states are also offering additional time. While Wisconsin has not yet offered that option, you can keep up to date on this information, which is being tracked by the The American Institute of CPAs .

The Madison Chamber is now using a platform called  Slido  to enable local business owners to ask questions.
  • To submit or vote up questions, visit and enter the event code ASK4BIZ (not case-sensitive), or send an email with your question to [email protected].
  • The Chamber has compiled a group of experts to answer these questions; answers will be posted on their FAQ page. SBDC staff will be one of the experts contributing content to the page. 
The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the  Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship  in the  University of Wisconsin System . It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the  U.S. Small Business Administration.