State Labor Laws

Permits and Location Fees

No general permits are required for filming in Wisconsin; and location fees are generally modest. Permits, when required, are used for closing a street or some other public facility. Permits may be required in City, County & State Parks and Forests. The Film Office can advise on specific requirements.

Withholding Tax

If you hire workers, you must register to withhold Wisconsin income tax from your employee’s wages. Contact:

Compliance Bureau
P.O. Box 8902
Madison, WI 53708

Incorporation / Limited Partnership

If you plan to incorporate your business or form a limited partnership and need information about Wisconsin’s laws, contact:

P.O. Box 7846
Madison, WI 53707

Truck Transportation

Transportation of motion picture equipment into the state is governed by regulations of the Commissioner of Transportation (Motor Carrier Authority License); the Department of Transportation. You can obtain more information relating to these regulations by writing:

Motor Carrier Services Section
4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 151
Madison, WI 53707.

Or you may call:

International Registration Plan:
(for vehicle registration requirements)

Insurance Unit:
(for insurance, authority, heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT) and single state registration requirements)

Permit Unit:
(for Oversize/Overweight Permitting requirements)

Fuel Tax Unit:
(for fuel tax requirements)

Child Labor Law (Statute) Employment

Wisconsin has some of the nation’s least strict child labor laws.

103.78 Minors in public exhibitions, radio and television broadcasts, modeling.

(1) Nothing contained in ss. 103.64 to 103.82 shall be construed as forbidding any minor under 19 years of age to appear for the purpose of singing, playing or performing in any studio, circus, theatrical or musical exhibition, concert or festival, in radio and television broadcasts, or as a live or photographic model. Labor permits shall not be required for such employment or appearances but no minor under 18 years of age shall be so employed except under the following conditions:

(a) The activities enumerated shall not be detrimental to the life, health, safety or welfare of the minor.

(b) The activities enumerated shall not interfere with the schooling of the minor and provision for education equivalent to full­time school attendance in the public schools for minors under 16 years of age and part­time attendance for minors 16 to 18 years of age shall be made for those minors who are not high school graduates.

(c) A parent of guardian shall accompany each minor under 16 years of age at all rehearsals, appearances and performances.

(d) The employment or appearance shall not be in a roadhouse, cabaret, dance hall, night club, tavern or other similar place. This prohibition does not apply to:

1. Minors presenting musical entertainment at dances held in any hall on Friday, Saturday or on any other day not followed by a school day or before midnight on Sunday, if the hall was rented for the purpose of celebrating a special event, including but not limited to a wedding, holiday, birthday or anniversary.

2. Dances held solely for minors conducted by private clubs or civic organizations where admission is limited to the membership of the club or by their invitation and the general public is excluded.

3. Performances by minors in theatrical performances at dinner theaters.

(2) The penalties in s. 103.82 (1) apply to any employer who violates this section.

(3) The penalties in s. 103­82 (3) apply to any parent or guardian who suffers or permits a minor to engage in activities in violation of this section.

(4) Treble the amount of compensation otherwise recoverable as provided in s. 102.60 (4) and wage loss as provided in s. 102.60 (6) are payable to a minor under 18 years of age injured during the course of his employment or appearance in violation of this section.

History: 1971 c. 271; 1979 c. 221; 1987 a. 332 s. 64.

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment compensation is a payroll tax that an employer must pay if any one of the following conditions of Wisconsin employment exists:

If you paid $1,500 in wages in any calendar quarter of the current or preceding calendar year;

If you employ one or more persons full or part­time for some part of a day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks of the current or preceding calendar year;

On your first Wisconsin employment if, with respect to other employment outside Wisconsin, you have a liability under the federal unemployment tax act;

If you require all or part of a business already covered (not all business transfers result in a mandatory transfer of unemployment compensation experience);

If you are a nonprofit organization or an employer of agricultural or domestic labor. (Contact the address listed below for the specific conditions for these types of employment.)

All employers are encouraged to contact the Unemployment Division about liability under Wisconsin’s unemployment compensation law. Contact:

P.O. Box 7942
Madison, WI 53707

Worker’s Compensation

Wisconsin law requires that you carry worker’s compensation insurance for your employees:

If you have three or more employees

If you paid wages of $500 or more in a calendar year

While state law requires that you have worker’s compensation insurance, the state is not the insurance carrier. Worker’s compensation insurance is usually obtained through private insurance companies. If an employer is unable to secure insurance coverage on a voluntary basis from an insurance company, the employer can get insurance through:

732 North Jackson Street
Milwaukee, WI

A large employer may self­insure its risk if it is qualified and if it has permission from the Department of Industry, Labor, and Human Relations. Contact:

P.O. Box 7901
Madison, WI 53707