(1)   Preference. The whole claim for compensation for the injury or death of any employee or any award or judgment thereon, and any claim for unpaid compensation insurance premiums are entitled to preference in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings as is given creditors’ actions except as denied or limited by any law of this state or by the federal bankruptcy act, but this section shall not impair the lien of any judgment entered upon any award.

Terms Used In Wisconsin Statutes 102.28

  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Employee: as used in this chapter means:
   (1)   
      (a)    Every person, including all officials, in the service of the state, or of any local governmental unit in this state, whether elected or under any appointment or contract of hire, express or implied, and whether a resident of the state or employed or injured within or without the state. See Wisconsin Statutes 54.950
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Following: when used by way of reference to any statute section, means the section next following that in which the reference is made. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • in writing: includes any representation of words, letters, symbols or figures. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Minor: means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of investigating or prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated a state or federal criminal law or any civil law or municipal ordinance, "minor" does not include a person who has attained the age of 17 years. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Officers: when applied to corporations include directors and trustees. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Promulgate: when used in connection with a rule, as defined under s. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Property: includes real and personal property. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • State: when applied to states of the United States, includes the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the several territories organized by Congress. See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
  • Year: means a calendar year, unless otherwise expressed; "year" alone means "year of our Lord". See Wisconsin Statutes 403.504
  •    (2)   Required insurance; exceptions.
          (a)    Duty to insure payment for compensation. Unless exempted under par. (b) or (bm) or sub. (3), every employer, as described in s. 102.04 (1), shall insure payment for compensation under this chapter in an insurer authorized to do business in this state. A joint venture may elect to be an employer under this chapter and obtain insurance for payment of compensation. If a joint venture that is subject to this chapter only because the joint venture elected to be an employer under this chapter is dissolved and cancels or terminates its contract for the insurance of compensation under this chapter, that joint venture is deemed to have effected withdrawal, which shall be effective on the day after the contract is canceled or terminated.
          (b)    Exemption from duty to insure; employers generally. The department may grant a written order of exemption to an employer who shows its financial ability to pay the amount of compensation, agrees to report faithfully all compensable injuries and agrees to comply with this chapter and the rules of the department. The department may condition the granting of an exemption upon the employer’s furnishing of satisfactory security to guarantee payment of all claims under compensation. The department may require that bonds or other personal guarantees be enforceable against sureties in the same manner as an award may be enforced. The department may from time to time require proof of financial ability of the employer to pay compensation. Any exemption shall be void if the application for it contains a financial statement which is false in any material respect. An employer who files an application containing a false financial statement remains subject to par. (a). The department may promulgate rules establishing an amount to be charged to an initial applicant for exemption under this paragraph and an annual amount to be charged to employers that have been exempted under this paragraph.
          (bm)    Exemption from duty to insure; governmental employers.
             1.    Subject to subds. 2. to 4., if the state or a local governmental unit that has independent taxing authority is not partially insured or fully insured for its liability for the payment of compensation under this chapter, or to the extent that the state or a local governmental unit that has independent taxing authority is not partially insured for that liability under one or more contracts issued with the consent of the department under s. 102.31 (1) (b), and if the state or local governmental unit agrees to report faithfully all compensable injuries and to comply with this chapter and all rules of the department, the state or local governmental unit may elect to self-insure that liability without further order of the department.
             2.    Notwithstanding the absence of an order of exemption from the duty to insure under par. (a), the state or a local governmental unit that elects to self-insure as provided in subd. 1. is exempt from that duty. Notwithstanding that exemption, if the state or a local governmental unit that elects to self-insure as provided in subd. 1. desires partial insurance or divided insurance, the state or local governmental unit shall obtain the consent of the department under s. 102.31 (1) (b) to the issuance of a contract providing such insurance.
             3.   
                a.    A local governmental unit that elects to self-insure its liability for the payment of compensation under this chapter shall notify the department of that election in writing before commencing to self-insure that liability and shall notify the department of its intent to continue to self-insure that liability every 3 years after that initial notice. A local government unit that wishes to withdraw that election shall notify the department of that withdrawal not less than 30 days before the effective date of that withdrawal.
                b.    A notice under subd. 3. a. shall be accompanied by a resolution adopted by the governing body of the local governmental unit and signed by the elected or appointed chief executive of the local governmental unit stating that the governing body intends and agrees to self-insure the liability of the local governmental unit for the payment of compensation under this chapter and that the local government unit agrees to report faithfully all compensable injuries and to comply with this chapter and all rules of the department.
             4.    An election to self-insure under subd. 1. is subject to revocation under par. (c) 2. Once such an election is revoked, the employer whose election is revoked may not elect to self-insure its liability for the payment of compensation under this chapter unless at least 3 calendar years have elapsed since the revocation and the department finds that the employer’s financial condition is adequate to pay its employees’ claims for compensation, that the employer has not received an excessive number of claims for compensation, and that the employer has faithfully discharged its obligations under this chapter and the rules of the department.
          (c)    Revocation of exemption or election.
             1.    The department, after seeking the advice of the self-insurers council, may revoke an exemption granted to an employer under par. (b), upon giving the employer 10 days’ written notice, if the department finds that the employer’s financial condition is inadequate to pay its employees’ claims for compensation, that the employer has received an excessive number of claims for compensation, or that the employer has failed to discharge faithfully its obligations according to the agreement contained in the application for exemption.
             2.    The department may revoke an election made by an employer under par. (bm), upon giving the employer 10 days’ written notice, if the department finds that the employer’s financial condition is inadequate to pay its employees’ claims for compensation, that the employer has received an excessive number of claims for compensation, or that the employer has failed to discharge faithfully its obligations under this chapter and the rules of the department.
             3.    Within 10 days after receipt of a notice of revocation under subd. 1. or 2., the employer may request in writing a review of the revocation by the secretary or the secretary’s designee and the secretary or the secretary’s designee shall review the revocation within 30 days after receipt of the request for review. If the employer is aggrieved by the determination of the secretary or the secretary’s designee, the employer may, within 10 days after receipt of notice of that determination, request a hearing under s. 102.17. If the secretary or the secretary’s designee determines that the employer’s exemption or election should be revoked, the employer shall obtain insurance coverage as required under par. (a) immediately upon receipt of notice of that determination and, notwithstanding the pendency of proceedings under ss. 102.17 to 102.25, shall keep that coverage in force until another exemption under par. (b) is granted or another election under par. (bm) is made.
          (d)    Effect of insuring with unauthorized insurer. If an employer that is exempted under par. (b) or (bm) from the duty to insure under par. (a) enters into any agreement for excess insurance coverage with an insurer not authorized to do business in this state, the employer shall report that agreement to the department immediately. The placing of such coverage shall not by itself be grounds for revocation of the exemption.
          (e)    Rules. The department shall promulgate rules to implement this subsection.
       (3)   Provision of alternative benefits.
          (a)    An employer may file with the department an application for exemption from the duty to pay compensation under this chapter with respect to any employee who signs the waiver described in subd. 1. and the affidavit described in subd. 2. if an authorized representative of the religious sect to which the employee belongs signs the affidavit specified in subd. 3. and the agreement described in subd. 4. An application for exemption under this paragraph shall include all of the following:
             1.    A written waiver by the employee or, if the employee is a minor, by the employee and his or her parent or guardian of all compensation under this chapter other than the alternative benefits provided under par. (c).
             2.    An affidavit by the employee or, if the employee is a minor, by the employee and his or her parent or guardian stating that the employee is a member of a recognized religious sect and that, as a result of the employee’s adherence to the established tenets or teachings of the religious sect, the employee is conscientiously opposed to accepting the benefits of any public or private insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age or retirement, or that makes payments toward the cost of or provides medical care, including any benefits provided under the federal social security act, 42 USC 301 to 1397f.
             3.    An affidavit by an authorized representative of the religious sect to which the employee belongs stating that the religious sect has a long-standing history of providing its members who become dependent on the support of the religious sect as a result of work-related injuries, and the dependents of those members, with a standard of living and medical treatment that are reasonable when compared to the general standard of living and medical treatment for members of the religious sect.
             4.    An agreement signed by an authorized representative of the religious sect to which the employee belongs to provide the financial and medical assistance described in subd. 3. to the employee and to the employee’s dependents if the employee sustains an injury which, but for the waiver under subd. 1., the employer would be liable for under s. 102.03.
          (b)    The department shall approve an application under par. (a) if the department determines that all of the following conditions are satisfied:
             1.    The employee has waived all compensation under this chapter other than the alternative benefits provided under par. (c).
             2.    The employee is a member of a religious sect whose established tenets or teachings oppose accepting the benefits of insurance as described in par. (a) 2. and that, as a result of adherence to those tenets or teachings, the employee conscientiously opposes accepting those benefits.
             3.    The religious sect to which the employee belongs has a long-established history of providing its members who become dependent on the religious sect as a result of work-related injuries, and the dependents of those members, with a standard of living and medical treatment that are reasonable when compared to the general standard of living and medical treatment for members of the religious sect. In determining whether the religious sect has a long-standing history of providing the financial and medical assistance described in this subdivision, the department shall presume that a 25-year history of providing that financial and medical assistance is long-standing for purposes of this subdivision.
             4.    The religious sect to which the employee belongs has agreed to provide the financial and medical assistance described in subd. 3. to the employee and to the dependents of the employee if the employee sustains an injury that, but for the waiver under par. (a) 1., the employer would be liable for under s. 102.03.
          (c)    An employee who has signed a waiver under par. (a) 1. and an affidavit under par. (a) 2., who sustains an injury that, but for that waiver, the employer would be liable for under s. 102.03, who at the time of the injury was a member of a religious sect whose authorized representative has filed an affidavit under par. (a) 3. and an agreement under par. (a) 4., and who as a result of the injury becomes dependent on the religious sect for financial and medical assistance, or the employee’s dependent, may request a hearing under s. 102.17 (1) to determine if the religious sect has provided the employee and his or her dependents with a standard of living and medical treatment that are reasonable when compared to the general standard of living and medical treatment for members of the religious sect. If, after hearing, the division determines that the religious sect has not provided that standard of living or medical treatment, or both, the division may order the religious sect to provide alternative benefits to that employee or his or her dependent, or both, in an amount that is reasonable under the circumstances, but not in excess of the benefits that the employee or dependent could have received under this chapter but for the waiver under par. (a) 1.
          (d)    The department shall provide a form for the application for exemption of an employer under par. (a) (intro.), the waiver and affidavit of an employee under par. (a) 1. and 2., the affidavit of a religious sect under par. (a) 3. and the agreement of a religious sect under par. (a) 4. A properly completed form is prima facie evidence of satisfaction of the conditions under par. (b) as to the matter contained in the form.
       (4)   Closure order.
          (a)    When the department discovers an uninsured employer, the department may order the employer to cease operations until the employer complies with sub. (2).
          (b)    If the department believes that an employer may be an uninsured employer, the department shall notify the employer of the alleged violation of sub. (2) and the possibility of closure under this subsection. The employer may request and shall receive a hearing under s. 102.17 on the matter if the employer applies for a hearing within 10 days after the notice of the alleged violation is served.
          (c)    After a hearing under par. (b), or without a hearing if one is not requested, the division may issue an order to an employer to cease operations on a finding that the employer is an uninsured employer. If no hearing is requested, the department may issue such an order.
          (d)    The department of justice may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction or other remedy to enforce an order to cease operations under par. (c).
       (5)   Employer’s liability. If compensation is awarded under this chapter, against any employer who at the time of the accident has not complied with sub. (2), such employer shall not be entitled as to such award or any judgment entered thereon, to any of the exemptions of property from seizure and sale on execution allowed in ss. 815.18 to 815.21. If such employer is a corporation, the officers and directors thereof shall be individually and jointly and severally liable for any portion of any such judgment as is returned unsatisfied after execution against the corporation.
       (6)   Reports by employer. Every employer shall upon request of the department report to it the number of employees and the nature of their work and also the name of the insurance company with whom the employer has insured liability under this chapter and the number and date of expiration of such policy. Failure to furnish such report within 10 days from the making of a request by certified mail shall constitute presumptive evidence that the delinquent employer is violating sub. (2).
       (7)   Insolvent employers; assessments.
          (a)    If an employer who is currently or was formerly exempted by written order of the department under sub. (2) (b) is unable to pay an award, judgment is rendered in accordance with s. 102.20 against that employer, and execution is levied and returned unsatisfied in whole or in part, payments for the employer’s liability shall be made from the fund established under sub. (8). If a currently or formerly exempted employer files for bankruptcy and not less than 60 days after that filing the department has reason to believe that compensation payments due are not being paid, the department in its discretion may make payment for the employer’s liability from the fund established under sub. (8). The secretary of administration shall proceed to recover those payments from the employer or the employer’s receiver or trustee in bankruptcy, and may commence an action or proceeding or file a claim for those payments. The attorney general shall appear on behalf of the secretary of administration in any such action or proceeding. All moneys recovered in any such action or proceeding shall be paid into the fund established under sub. (8).
          (b)   
             1.    Each employer exempted by written order of the department under sub. (2) (b) shall pay into the fund established by sub. (8) an initial assessment based on orders of the department as provided in subd. 2. An order of the department requiring exempt employers to pay into that fund shall provide for an amount that is sufficient to secure estimated payments of an insolvent exempt employer due for the period up to the date of the order and for one year following the date of the order and to pay the estimated cost of insurance carrier or insurance service organization services under par. (c). Payments ordered to be made to the fund shall be paid to the department within 30 days after the date of the order. If additional moneys are required, further assessments shall be made based on orders of the department as provided under subd. 2.
             2.    An initial or further assessment under subd. 1. shall be prorated on the basis of the gross payroll for this state of the exempt employer as reported to the department for the previous calendar year for unemployment insurance purposes under ch. 108 or, if an exempt employer is not covered under ch. 108, on the basis of the comparable gross payroll for the exempt employer as determined by the department. If payment of any assessment made under subd. 1. is not made within 30 days after the date of the order of the department, the attorney general may appear on behalf of the state to collect the assessment.
          (bm)    The department may not do any of the following:
             1.    Require an employer that elects under sub. (2) (bm) to self-insure its liability for the payment of compensation under this chapter to pay into the fund established under sub. (8).
             2.    Make any payments from the fund established under sub. (8) for the liability under this chapter of an employer that elects under sub. (2) (bm) to self-insure its liability for the payment of compensation under this chapter, whether currently or formerly exempt from the duty to insure under sub. (2) (a).
          (c)    The department may retain an insurance carrier or insurance service organization to process, investigate and pay valid claims. The charge for such service shall be paid from the fund as provided under par. (b).
          (d)    The department shall promulgate rules to implement this subsection.
       (8)   Self-insured employers liability fund. The moneys paid into the state treasury under sub. (7), together with all accrued interest, shall constitute a separate nonlapsible fund designated as the self-insured employers liability fund. Moneys in the fund may be expended only as provided in s. 20.445 (1) (s) and may not be used for an other purpose of the state.