How to Master Hiring in Wisconsin in 2024

How to Master Hiring in Wisconsin in 2024

How to Master Hiring in Wisconsin in 2024

December 29, 2023


Picture of INS Global



Picture of INS Global



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Key Takeaways

  1. Wisconsin provides a reasonable amount of flexibility in the hiring process
  2. Wisconsin currently follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees
  3. Employers hiring in Wisconsin are responsible for deducting and managing necessary tax and social insurance payments


Expanding your business operations to Wisconsin in 2024 presents a wealth of opportunities, but the success of your venture hinges on understanding and navigating the nuances of hiring in this vibrant state. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key elements that can help you master the art of hiring in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin Legal Codes


Employers must first acquaint themselves with the state’s legal codes to build a solid foundation for hiring in Wisconsin. The state practices a blended system of legal codes surrounding employment, where employers must be familiar with both state and federal rules.

In some cases, state or federal employment laws may apply in cases where a company has a certain number of employees. An example of this may be state employment discrimination laws, which apply to companies with any number of employees. In contrast, federal discrimination laws only apply to companies with more than 15 workers.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is your go-to resource for regulations related to wages, hours, and workplace standards.

A failure to comply with legal codes around employment in Wisconsin can result in serious financial or even criminal penalties. Delays caused by compliance assurance are avoidable; however, they underscore the need for a thorough understanding of Wisconsin’s employment laws.


Wisconsin Recruitment & Hiring Requirements


Efficient recruitment is the cornerstone of successful hiring. Customizing your approach to hiring in Wisconsin to align with the local job market involves utilizing local job boards, participating in industry events, and collaborating with Wisconsin-based recruitment agencies.

Once you’re ready to hire, it’s best to be sure that you follow all state and federal laws around hiring in Wisconsin, in addition to the basics of what you can offer, such as work hours and minimum wage. However, Wisconsin does provide a reasonable amount of flexibility in the hiring process, such as neither requiring nor prohibiting drug testing. However, other forms of tests may be prohibited, and discrimination based on personal characteristics is not permitted by law.



Current Wage and Hour Laws in Wisconsin


Compliance with wage and hour laws is not just a good business practice; it’s a legal necessity when hiring in Wisconsin and later down the line.

Wisconsin currently follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for non-exempt employees. Employers need to stay vigilant for any legislative changes.

Real incidents of penalties for incorrect employment practices can be damaging to growth. Examples of this in 2023 saw business owners required to pay thousands in back wages and financial fines for salary inaccuracies, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strict compliance assurance.


Ensuring Workplace Health and Safety in Wisconsin


Prioritizing workplace health and safety is a commitment that extends beyond ethics. Unless covered by specific workplace or industrial rules, companies hiring in Wisconsin are subject to federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and are responsible for workplace safety.

Familiarize yourself with the OSHA guidelines to create a secure working environment. Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties and jeopardize the well-being of your workforce.


What are the Essential Employee Leave and Benefits in Wisconsin?


Understanding employee leave and benefits is pivotal for attracting and retaining top talent. Wisconsin adheres to most federal guidelines concerning leave, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employers need to be well-versed in these regulations to craft comprehensive policies that align with state and federal laws.


In addition to the minimum wage, employees in Wisconsin may receive the following basic benefits:




For work beyond 40 hours per week, employees must be paid 1.5X standard salary. Certain types of employees, such as executive or management-level workers, aren’t typically eligible for overtime pay.




In Wisconsin, break and rest periods are not required by law except for employees 18 years of age and younger.

Employers are free to offer breaks as required in order to attract staff or manage workplace productivity.




Paid vacation leave is not a requirement in Wisconsin. However, offering some form of vacation leave is a common way to attract quality employees when hiring in Wisconsin.

Should an employee need to take extended time off from work to deal with a personal matter, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) typically protects employees who have been working for their employer for more than 12 months. This allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in cases of medical emergencies. These medical emergencies can cover either the employee or their dependents.

Similar laws also protect workers who take leave for other reasons, such as recovering from a health condition or performing civic responsibilities like jury duty. However, beyond leave for disabilities, employers in Wisconsin are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave.




Pregnant employees are protected by medical leave laws and anti-discrimination laws from being terminated. Additionally, if an employee is eligible under both the federal and Wisconsin FMLA, they can take up to 12 weeks of combined leave.


Health Insurance


Health insurance for employees in Wisconsin typically comes in the form of a private health insurance policy offered by their employer or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In Wisconsin, employers with 50 or more employees must offer some form of affordable health insurance that meets federal requirements.

Additionally, state law provides certain employees (typically those employed by small businesses) the right to continue their health insurance coverage after leaving. This continuation can last anywhere from 18 to 36 months.




While no retirement funds are required by state law, many employers offer their employees a 401k or IRA.


Calculating Tax and Social Security Contributions in Wisconsin


In addition to federal taxes, employees in Wisconsin will be subject to a progressive state income tax rate from 3.54%–7.65%. Employers hiring in Wisconsin are responsible for deducting this from an employee’s salary and managing necessary tax payments.

Employers in Wisconsin must contribute to unemployment insurance (at 3.05-3.25%) based on their total payroll amount plus a federal unemployment tax of up to $370 per employee.

Both employer and employee will also have to pay around 6.2% of their income toward FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) and 1.45% towards Medicare.

Understanding social security contributions is equally important to maintaining compliance with employment regulations and avoiding penalties.


What You Need to Know about Employee Termination in Wisconsin


Employment relationships in Wisconsin are at-will, meaning either employer or employer may terminate the relationship at any time without needing a reason.

Employers should provide at least 60 days’ notice when laying off employees. In any other situation, no notice is required by law from the employer or employee.


5 Tips for Employers Hiring in Wisconsin


Localize Your Approach: Tailor your recruitment strategies and attitude to hiring in Wisconsin to the state’s unique professional dynamics through a combination of online and offline hiring platforms.

Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates to legal codes and employment regulations to ensure continued compliance.

Prioritize Workplace Safety: Always try to practice robust safety protocols to protect your employees and reduce legal risks.

Craft Comprehensive Policies: While the state may not mandate many employee benefits, develop employee leave and benefit policies that attract the best local talent.

Seek Professional Guidance: Partnering with a reputable HR service provider like INS Global for expert support can be a simple way to ensure compliance while boosting local streamlining.