Wisconsin Labor Laws

Wisconsin Labor Laws (2024 Guide For Employers)

It’s essential for employers and employees working in the state of Wisconsin to have a solid understanding of Wisconsin labor laws.

  • Are you unsure about your rights as a worker in Wisconsin?
  • Do you need clarity on Wisconsin’s minimum wage law and how it applies to you?
  • Worried about workplace safety and workers’ compensation coverage?

When it comes to understanding employment law, it’s important to find reliable resources that break down Wisconsin’s labor landscape.

From the intricacies of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to the specifics of workers’ compensation regulations, you must have a thorough knowledge of all elements involved in employment law.

Who is this article for?

  • For workers in Madison, Milwaukee, and across the state of Wisconsin.
  • Tailored guidance for employees of all ages, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just entering the workforce.
  • Specifically crafted for hourly wage earners and salaried employees alike.

We understand the challenges you face.

From the bustling streets of Milwaukee to the tranquil corners of Madison, every worker deserves fair treatment.

Let us be your guide as we explore Wisconsin’s labor laws together and point you toward the right resources, ensuring you’re empowered and protected in every workweek period.

Disclaimer: Despite our best efforts to provide you with accurate information on this topic at the time of writing, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content at the time of reading. This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult an attorney for specific guidance on Wisconsin labor laws.

Wisconsin Wage Laws

Minimum Wage

The current Wisconsin minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

This aligns with the federal minimum wage.

Some localities may set a higher minimum wage rate.

Tipped employees have a lower minimum wage ($2.33/hour), provided their tips bring them to at least the standard minimum.

Wage Deductions

Employers can only deduct from wages in specific situations allowed by state law, such as for taxes or court-ordered garnishments.

Deductions must be clearly communicated to employees.

Wisconsin Payment Laws

Pay Frequency

Wisconsin requires most employees to be paid at least once a month. Some employees, like executives or those covered by a collective bargaining agreement, may have different schedules.


Wisconsin has no fixed payday requirement, but employers must establish a regular, communicated schedule for pay.

Final Paychecks

Employers must provide final wages to terminated employees within the next regularly scheduled payday.

If that’s impractical, final wages are typically due within 31 days of termination.

Wisconsin Overtime Laws

Overtime Eligibility

Non-exempt employees in Wisconsin are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek.


Certain employees, like salaried professionals or farmworkers, may be exempt from overtime pay regulations under both federal law and Wisconsin labor laws.

Wisconsin Break Laws

Meal Periods

Wisconsin law does not mandate meal periods for adult employees. However, employers are encouraged to offer them. Employers cannot require employees to work during unpaid meal breaks.

Rest Periods

Wisconsin employment regulations specifically mandate 30-minute rest breaks for minors who work 6 or more consecutive hours. Federal rules may also offer short paid rest breaks to all employees.

Wisconsin Leave Requirements

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA entitles eligible workers at certain employers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for serious health conditions, caring for a family member with the same, birth or adoption of a child, or military-related exigencies.

Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave (WFML)

Wisconsin employment regulations also provide a state-specific version, with similar eligibility and coverage but potentially applicable to smaller employers.

Sick Leave

While Wisconsin has no mandated paid sick leave, some localities may have their own requirements. Employers may also offer sick leave as a benefit.

Other Leave

Wisconsin necessitates leave for jury duty, voting, organ donation leave, military service, and in some cases, victims of specific crimes.

Child Labor Laws in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, like every state, has strict child labor laws designed to protect minors in the workplace. These laws govern:

Minimum Age for Employment

Different minimum ages exist depending on the job type and season.

Work Permits

Minors may need work permits before starting jobs.

Restricted Hours

Child labor laws limit the hours minors can work, especially during non-school days.

Wisconsin Hiring Laws

Fair Employment Law

Wisconsin’s robust Fair Employment Law prohibits discrimination based on protected factors like race, age (40+), sex, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, conviction record, use of lawful products, and more.

Wisconsin Termination Laws


Wisconsin is an “at-will” state, meaning employers can terminate employment for any reason that’s not illegal (like discrimination) without the need for notice or cause.

Mass Layoff

Specific notice requirements may apply in cases of a plant closing or mass layoff.

Cessation of Health Care Benefits

Laws protect workers from losing health insurance immediately upon termination.

Occupational Safety in Wisconsin


The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) mandates safe and healthy workplaces. Its regulations apply to most Wisconsin employers.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD)

Wisconsin’s DWD also enforces workplace safety regulations, sometimes offering standards stricter than OSHA’s. Employers must comply with both federal and state occupational safety laws.

Important Notes on Wisconsin Labor Laws

Navigating Wisconsin’s labor codes can be intricate. Keeping these points in mind is essential:

Federal vs. State Law

Where discrepancies exist between federal and Wisconsin labor laws, follow the standard that is more advantageous to the employee.

Local Ordinances

Some Wisconsin cities or counties may have additional ordinances that exceed state requirements.

Department of Workforce Development (DWD)

The DWD is an invaluable resource. Their website provides in-depth guidance and handles inquiries related to labor laws.

Specific Industries

Some industries, like agriculture and domestic service, may have their own unique regulations beyond the ones outlined here. Always research any industry-specific rules that might apply.

The Importance of Recordkeeping

Employers must meticulously maintain records related to wages, hours, and other employment data in Wisconsin. This assists in compliance with federal fair labor standards act regulations and any state-specific requirements.

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

This blog post provides a general overview of Wisconsin labor laws but does not constitute legal advice. Laws and regulations are subject to change, and there may be additional requirements or exemptions that apply to specific situations. Employers and employees should consult a qualified labor law attorney for advice on their specific circumstances.

If you have any questions about your rights or obligations as an employer or employee in Wisconsin, it is essential to consult with a labor law attorney to receive accurate information and guidance tailored to your situation. By seeking professional legal advice, you can ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to comply with labor laws and protect your rights.

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