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Legislative Update

Governor’s proposed budget eyes significant changes to school employee benefits

by | Mar 3, 2021 | Legislative Update Blog, State Budget, State Issue | 0 comments

Significant changes to the way public school employees receive their health insurance could be in the works if Gov. Evers’ proposed budget is adopted as proposed.  

The budget bill includes provisions calling for a:

Study of Requiring School District Health Insurance to be provided through the State Group Health Insurance Program: In his proposed 2021-23 biennial budget the Governor recommends requiring the state Group Insurance Board to conduct an actuarial study assessing potential costs and savings that could be incurred by school districts and plan participants if all Wisconsin school districts were required to participate in the department’s Group Health Insurance Program, effective January 1, 2024.

The Governor also recommends creating a new appropriation and providing one-time funding ($500,000) for the actuarial study. The Governor further recommends establishing a task force overseen by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, in collaboration with the Department of Employee Trust Funds, to develop and submit a potential implementation plan to the Governor and the Joint Committee on Finance by December 31, 2022.

During calendar year 2019, there were 78,677 public school teachers among the active employees in the Wisconsin Retirement System. 

Other budget provisions affecting employee benefits include the following:

Domestic Partnership Benefits: The Governor recommends reinstating domestic partnership benefits for all insurance programs administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds.

Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Expansion: The Governor recommends expanding and modifying the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as follows: (a) apply the law to employers with at least 25, instead of 50, employees; (b) permit leave to be taken to care for a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling with a serious health condition; (c) expand the definition of “qualifying exigency” to include deployment of a spouse or child, and an unforeseen or unexpected closure of a school or child care facility; (d) expand the definition of “serious health condition” to include medical quarantine to allow workers to take FMLA leave when under a medical quarantine, or caring for someone under quarantine, regardless of whether the person is exhibiting symptoms; (e) reduce the number of hours an employee is required to work before qualifying to 680, instead of 1,000; and (f) extend the statute of limitations for filing a FMLA complaint to 300 days, instead of 30 days.



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