Employment Services Industry Licensing Guide
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Wisconsin Employment Agency

A businesswoman accepting her new job offer with a handshake

Licensing requirements for Wisconsin employment, staffing and talent agencies.

This page provides an overview of employment services licensing in Wisconsin for individuals and agencies. You will find state requirements, application fees, filing instructions, and more. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

Companies that provide employment services in Wisconsin must apply for a license prior to doing business. Depending on the services offered, businesses may need to apply for more than one license type, and in some cases, an individual license will be required as well.

Company Licenses

Wisconsin Employment Services Company Licenses

Companies acting as employment agencies in Wisconsin must obtain the following licenses before offering employment services. Applications usually require proof of incorporation or a certificate of authority.

Wisconsin Employment Agency License

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Fact Checked:3/12/18

Initial Registration

This section applies to firms that are applying for a license in Wisconsin for the first time.

Form:

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/forms/erd/ls_86_e.htm

Agency Fee:

1% of gross receipts for the license year. The minimum fee is $50 and the maximum fee is $300.

Fact Checked:12/7/16

Registration Renewal

This section applies to firms that are already licensed in Wisconsin and need to renew their license.

Form:

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/forms/erd/ls_86a_e.htm

Agency Fee:

1% of gross receipts for the license year. The minimum fee is $50 and the maximum fee is $300.

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:12/7/16

Wisconsin Professional Employer Group Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Law:

WI Stat. § 202.22

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Financial Requirements:

Working capital of at least $100,000.

Bond Requirements:

If the applicant does not meet the working capital requirement, a bond of at least $100,000 must be submitted. However, if the applicant’s financial statement discloses negative working capital, the bond must be increased in an amount that is sufficient to cover the amount of the deficit. For example, if the applicant has working capital of -$110,000, a $110,000 bond would need to be submitted to the department.

Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:6/11/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Form #2840: Application for Registration

Agency Fee:

$75

Required Attachments:
  • List of States where Applicant Operated in the Previous 5 Years – The list must include the following:
    • Names of all states in which applicant has operated
    • The name the applicant used to conduct business in each state
    • Dates of operation in each state
    • Trade name(s)/DBA(s), if any, used by the applicant in each state
    • Address of applicant in each state
    • Name of any predecessor business entities of the applicant in each state
    • Name of any successor business entities of the applicant in each state (if known)
  • Statement of Ownership – The statement must identify each owner who has a controlling interest in the applicant and must provide the following bulleted information for each owner. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who, individually or acting in concert with one or more other persons, owns or controls, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the ownership interest of an applicant or registrant.
    • Owner’s name
    • Business name of each of the owner’s employers during the preceding 10 years.
    • Business address of each employer
    • Owner’s occupation at each of his/her employers
    • Offices held, if any, at each employer
    • Dates of employment at each employer
    • Responsibilities at each employer
  • Statement of Management – The statement must identify each manager who has a controlling interest in the applicant and must provide the following bulleted information for each manager. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who serves as president or chief executive officer of an applicant or registrant or who otherwise has the authority to act as the senior executive officer of an applicant or registrant.
    • Manager’s name
    • Business name of each of the manager’s employers during the preceding 10 years.
    • Business address of each employer
    • Manager’s occupation at each of his/her employers
    • Offices held, if any, at each employer
    • Dates of employment at each employer
    • Responsibilities at each employer
  • Financial Statements – Submit financial statements for the applicant that are dated not more than 13 months prior to the date of this application. The financial statements must be prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles and audited by an independent certified public accountant.
  • Working Capital Documentation – If the applicant’s balance sheet does not disclose working capital, as defined by generally accepted accounting principles, of at least $100,000, the applicant must submit a surety bond
  • Form #2252 - Convictions and Pending Charges (if applicable)
Fact Checked:6/11/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$107

Due:

Annually by July 31.

Fact Checked:6/11/21

Wisconsin Professional Employer Group Registration - Small Operations

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Law:

WI Stat. § 202.22

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Notes:

In order to qualify for small operations registration, the PEO/PEG must be registered as a PEO/PEG in another state, cannot maintain an office in Wisconsin, cannot solicit clients that are in Wisconsin, and cannot have more than 50 employees performing services for Wisconsin clients on any given day. A registrant that holds a small operations credential does not need to maintain a surety bond or submit audited financial statements to the Department of Financial Institutions on an annual basis.

Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:6/13/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Form #2858: Application for Registration - Small Operations

Agency Fee:

$75

Required Attachments:
  • List of States where Applicant Operated in the Previous 5 Years – The list must include the following:
    • Names of all states in which applicant has operated
    • The name the applicant used to conduct business in each state
    • Dates of operation in each state
    • Trade name(s)/DBA(s), if any, used by the applicant in each state
    • Address of applicant in each state
    • Name of any predecessor business entities of the applicant in each state
    • Name of any successor business entities of the applicant in each state (if known)
  • Statement of Ownership – The statement must identify the name and business experience of each owner who has a controlling interest in the applicant. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who, individually or acting in concert with one or more other persons, owns or controls, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the ownership interest of an applicant or registrant.
  • Statement of Management – The statement must identify the name and business experience of each manager who has a controlling interest in the applicant. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who serves as president or chief executive officer of an applicant or registrant or who otherwise has the authority to act as the senior executive officer of an applicant or registrant.
  • Form #2252 - Convictions and Pending Charges (if applicable)
Fact Checked:6/11/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$107

Due:

Annually by July 31.

Fact Checked:6/11/21

Wisconsin Professional Employer Organization Registration

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Law:

WI Stat. § 202.22

Financial Requirements:

Working capital of at least $100,000.

Bond Requirements:

If the applicant does not meet the working capital requirement, a bond of at least $100,000 must be submitted. However, if the applicant’s financial statement discloses negative working capital, the bond must be increased in an amount that is sufficient to cover the amount of the deficit. For example, if the applicant has working capital of -$110,000, a $110,000 bond would need to be submitted to the department.

Fact Checked:6/11/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Form #2840: Application for Registration

Agency Fee:

$75

Required Attachments:
  • List of States where Applicant Operated in the Previous 5 Years – The list must include the following:
    • Names of all states in which applicant has operated
    • The name the applicant used to conduct business in each state
    • Dates of operation in each state
    • Trade name(s)/DBA(s), if any, used by the applicant in each state
    • Address of applicant in each state
    • Name of any predecessor business entities of the applicant in each state
    • Name of any successor business entities of the applicant in each state (if known)
  • Statement of Ownership – The statement must identify each owner who has a controlling interest in the applicant and must provide the following bulleted information for each owner. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who, individually or acting in concert with one or more other persons, owns or controls, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the ownership interest of an applicant or registrant.
    • Owner’s name
    • Business name of each of the owner’s employers during the preceding 10 years.
    • Business address of each employer
    • Owner’s occupation at each of his/her employers
    • Offices held, if any, at each employer
    • Dates of employment at each employer
    • Responsibilities at each employer
  • Statement of Management – The statement must identify each manager who has a controlling interest in the applicant and must provide the following bulleted information for each manager. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who serves as president or chief executive officer of an applicant or registrant or who otherwise has the authority to act as the senior executive officer of an applicant or registrant.
    • Manager’s name
    • Business name of each of the manager’s employers during the preceding 10 years.
    • Business address of each employer
    • Manager’s occupation at each of his/her employers
    • Offices held, if any, at each employer
    • Dates of employment at each employer
    • Responsibilities at each employer
  • Financial Statements – Submit financial statements for the applicant that are dated not more than 13 months prior to the date of this application. The financial statements must be prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles and audited by an independent certified public accountant.
  • Working Capital Documentation – If the applicant’s balance sheet does not disclose working capital, as defined by generally accepted accounting principles, of at least $100,000, the applicant must submit a surety bond
  • Form #2252 - Convictions and Pending Charges (if applicable)
Fact Checked:6/11/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$107

Due:

Annually by July 31.

Fact Checked:6/11/21

Wisconsin Professional Employer Organization Registration - Small Operations

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Law:

WI Stat. § 202.22

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Notes:

In order to qualify for small operations registration, the PEO/PEG must be registered as a PEO/PEG in another state, cannot maintain an office in Wisconsin, cannot solicit clients that are in Wisconsin, and cannot have more than 50 employees performing services for Wisconsin clients on any given day. A registrant that holds a small operations credential does not need to maintain a surety bond or submit audited financial statements to the Department of Financial Institutions on an annual basis.

Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:6/11/21

Initial Registration

Form:

Form #2858: Application for Registration - Small Operations

Agency Fee:

$75

Required Attachments:
  • List of States where Applicant Operated in the Previous 5 Years – The list must include the following:
    • Names of all states in which applicant has operated
    • The name the applicant used to conduct business in each state
    • Dates of operation in each state
    • Trade name(s)/DBA(s), if any, used by the applicant in each state
    • Address of applicant in each state
    • Name of any predecessor business entities of the applicant in each state
    • Name of any successor business entities of the applicant in each state (if known)
  • Statement of Ownership – The statement must identify the name and business experience of each owner who has a controlling interest in the applicant. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who, individually or acting in concert with one or more other persons, owns or controls, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the ownership interest of an applicant or registrant.
  • Statement of Management – The statement must identify the name and business experience of each manager who has a controlling interest in the applicant. “Controlling Interest” is defined as meaning a person who serves as president or chief executive officer of an applicant or registrant or who otherwise has the authority to act as the senior executive officer of an applicant or registrant.
  • Form #2252 - Convictions and Pending Charges (if applicable)
Fact Checked:6/11/21

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$107

Due:

Annually by July 31.

Fact Checked:6/11/21

Wisconsin Talent Agency License

Agency:Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Notes:

Wisconsin does not have a separate talent agency license, but an employment agency license may be required.

Fact Checked:4/3/18

Initial Registration

Form:

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/forms/erd/ls_86_e.htm

Agency Fee:

1% of gross receipts for the license year. The minimum fee is $50 and the maximum fee is $300.

Fact Checked:12/7/16

Registration Renewal

Form:

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/forms/erd/ls_86a_e.htm

Agency Fee:

1% of gross receipts for the license year. The minimum fee is $50 and the maximum fee is $300.

Due:

Annually

Fact Checked:12/7/16

Employee Leasing Company - Enter into leasing contracts with other businesses that require labor. The leasing company loans its workers to the lessee while still providing specified responsibilities, such as workers compensation insurance, to the employees. This includes long term (6 months or more) temporary arrangements but often excludes temporary help arrangements. Unlike professional employer organizations, employee leasing companies are contracted when an employer needs to hire staff and does not want to handle human resources responsibilities.

Employment Agency - An entity that, for compensation, procures or attempts to procure employment for a person.

Professional Employer Organization - PEOs take on the human resources role for businesses and act as a co-employer in the sense that the client company's workers are administratively employees of the PEO but functionally these employees are controlled by the client company. Unlike employee leasing companies, PEOs are contracted when an employer already has staff and does not want to handle human resources responsibilities.

Staffing Agency - An entity that procures temporary or part-time employment for a person who then works under the supervision of a worksite employer.

Talent Agency - An entity that, for compensation, procures or attempts to procure employment or placement for an artist. (Certain art forms are excluded)

American Staffing Association
Staffing, recruiting, and workforce solution industry advocacy group.

National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS)
Education and training oriented association for personnel services providers.

National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO)
Provides advocacy efforts, information, and other services to members of the employment industry.

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