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The Federal Bonding Program provides Fidelity Bonds to anyone who is not eligible for commercial bonding, at NO COST to the employers or employees. It is a unique tool to help a job applicant get and keep a job. It is a business insurance policy that protects the employer in case of any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. It is like a "guarantee" to the employer that the person hired will be an honest worker. The Fidelity Bonds are insurance policies of the Travelers Property Casualty insurance company. The Union Insurance Group in Chicago, Illinois is the agent for Travelers Property Casualty in managing the program nationwide.
It insures the employer for any type of stealing by theft, forgery, larceny, or embezzlement. It does not cover liability due to poor workmanship, job injuries, or work accidents. It is not a bail bond or court bond for the legal system. It is not a contract bond, performance bond, or license bond sometimes needed to be self-employed.
The worker must meet the State’s legal age for working; there are no age limits. Workers must be paid wages with federal taxes automatically deducted from pay; self-employed persons cannot be covered.
Bond coverage is provided for any person whose background usually leads employers to question their honesty and deny them a job. The program will cover any person who is a "risk" due to their being in one or more of the following groups:
Anyone who cannot get a job without bonding is eligible for help by the Bonding Program. All individuals who have, in the past, committed a fraudulent or dishonest act, are eligible for bonding services. These persons include ex-offenders and ex-addicts, as well as people who have poor personal credit, poor persons who lack a work history, and individuals who were dishonorably discharged from the military. The bond is given to the employer free-of-charge and serves as an incentive to the company to hire a job applicant who is an ex-offender or has some other "risk" factor in their personal background. The employer is then able to get the worker’s skills without taking any risk of worker dishonesty on the job. It is like a "guarantee" to the employer that the person hired will be an honest worker.
The employer or job applicant must contact the nearest Wisconsin Job Center. Call (888) 258-9966 or see this list of Wisconsin Job Center locations. The applicant must first visit and register with the Job Center. Other than this registration, there are no papers to be completed by the job applicant or the employer in order for the bond to be issued.
The applicant must receive a job offer and the employer must schedule a date to start work before a bond can be issued. The Job Center will contact the local bonding representative who will submit the proper paper work to Job Service (central office). Job Service staff will request that The Union Insurance Group in Chicago, IL issue the employer a Fidelity Bond insurance policy covering the worker. This policy is underwritten through the Travelers Property Casualty insurance company.
Either the employer or the job applicant can request issuance of the bond for job placement to occur, by filling in the Fidelity Bond Certification Form. This request is to be made to any local partner agency in any Job Center in Wisconsin. These offices are designated as State Job Centers, or Workforce Development Centers. The partner will relay the request to the Job Service local bonding representative.
For a new bond to be issued, the employer must make the applicant a job offer and set a date for the individual to start work. The job start date will be the effective date of the bond insurance, which will terminate six months later. After six months, continued coverage is available for purchase if the worker has exhibited job honesty under the program's bond. With sufficient justification a renewal bond may be issued. Contact the State Bonding Service Coordinator with questions about eligibility for a subsidized renewal bond.
A basic $5,000 coverage bond is usually issued, with a NO DEDUCTIBLE amount of liability for the employer. Larger bond amounts can be issued if the State Bonding Coordinator has determined that a larger bond amount is appropriate
Over 50,000 job placements have been made in industries like hospitality, retail, construction, transportation, auto repair, healthcare and more. The Federal/Fidelity Bonding Program has helped many at-risk job seekers.
A research study published by a university in Texas surveyed employer attitudes toward hiring ex-offenders. Only 12% said that they were willing to hire these applicants. However, 51% said that they would hire ex-offenders if they were bonded.
New York State found that having a job helps prevent a parolee from returning to prison. The fact is that 89% of persons who violated parole were unemployed at the time. Texas found that Project RIO bonding and other services for those released from its State prisons saved the State $10 million annually and made tax payers out of tax users. A study of the U.S. Department of Justice found that released felony offenders with histories of alcohol and drug offenses were able to be helped to secure steady employment by offering employers bonding as a job-hire incentive.
In August 1998, the Pittsburgh City Paper brought attention to the fact that "a criminal past may prevent the transition from welfare to work," and called for expanded use of the Federal Bonding Program to deal with this job placement problem.