A Brief History of LIRC

In 1911, a 3-member commission, the State Industrial Commission, was created to administer Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation Law. Later, the Industrial Commission was also given responsibility for administration of Wisconsin's Unemployment Compensation Act.

In 1967, the Industrial Commission was renamed the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations ("DILHR"). Administration of the Unemployment Compensation Act was handled by the Unemployment Compensation Division of DILHR, while the Worker's Compensation Act was administered by DILHR's Worker's Compensation Division. DILHR was also given responsibility for the Governor's Commission on Civil Rights, which became the DILHR Equal Rights Division ("ERD"). DILHR was headed by three commissioners, who decided appeals of decisions made by these three Divisions.

In 1977, DILHR became a cabinet-level agency headed by a Secretary who was appointed by the Governor. At that time, the Labor and Industry Review Commission ("LIRC") was created as a separate agency to hear appeals of decisions of the Administrative Law Judges or Hearing Examiners of the DILHR Unemployment Compensation, Worker's Compensation and Equal Rights Divisions.

(In conjunction with a number of major shifts in program responsibilities, the name of the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations ("DILHR") was changed to the Department of Workforce Development ("DWD") in March, 1996. In addition, the name of the "Unemployment Compensation Division" was changed to the "Division of Unemployment Insurance " in 1997, and in 1998 all references to "Unemployment Compensation" in Chapter 108 were changed to "Unemployment Insurance".)

LIRC is composed of three commissioners who are appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate, and who serve staggered 6-year terms.

LIRC is an independent agency of the State of Wisconsin. It is not an organizational subdivision of DWD or the Department of Administration. LIRC is "attached" to DOA for some administrative support purposes only.