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Department of Employee Relations

Welcome to the Department of Employee Relations

The Department of Employee Relations (DER) serves as the City of Milwaukee’s human resources department.

The Department provides oversight and direction over the following:

  • City's civil service system
  • HR policies 
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding 
  • Compensation services  
  • Benefits and wellness services
  • Labor
  • Compliance  
  • Safety  
  • Grievances 
  • Leave administration
  • Other employee relations matters.

The Department is also responsible for implementing best practices that support the delivery of quality and timely city services.

About Us

  • Announcements
  • COVID-19
  • Featured News
  • Training
  • Jobs

Important Notice About DER's Reception Area

The Department of Employee Relations (DER) is open for business and here to assist applicants and employees with HR-related matters.  Our reception area is located on the 7th Floor and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
(NOTE: Masks are required inside City Hall, as of July 18, 2022.)

If you need assistance with:

General inquiries, call (414) 286-3751 or email

Employee Benefits, call (414) 286-3184 or email

Labor & Compliance, call (414) 286-2108 or email

Worker's Compensation, call (414) 286-2020 or email

EAP Coordinator, call (414) 286-3145 or email

Staffing, call (414) 286-2963 or email

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the numbers above.


Important Information for Employees Regarding COVID-19

City of Milwaukee COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

In accordance with the City of Milwaukee’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace free of known hazards, the City of Milwaukee has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for general city employees, including temporary employees, and interns, effective September 2021. We have adopted this policy to safeguard the health of our employees, their families, visitors and the residents we serve. 

Additionally, benefit eligible general city and sworn employees will receive an incentive of paid time off for receiving a COVID-19 vaccination booster and submitting proof into employee self-service. A COVID-19 vaccination booster is defined as a third dose in a two dose series or a second dose in a one dose series. Full time employees who submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccination booster will receive eight hours of paid time off. Part time employees will receive a prorated amount of paid time off based on their standard work hours per week.

COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Policy

Featured News

Milwaukee Common Council Confirms New DER Director

On July 12, 2022, the Milwaukee Common Council confirmed Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s appointment of the City’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of the Department of Employee Relations: Harper Donahue, IV. 

Donahue will lead the City’s human resource function and will direct all the divisions and operations of DER. He will also serve as a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet.

Most recently, Donahue has served as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Madison. He has worked for that city in a number of human resources roles over the past seventeen years.  He is expected to begin his new role at the City of Milwaukee at the end of August.

Mayor Johnson Announces City Partnership with MENTOR Greater Milwaukee

On March 30, 2022, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and MENTOR Greater Milwaukee announced a partnership allowing City of Milwaukee employees the ability to mentor Milwaukee youth during the work day.

MENTOR Greater Milwaukee works with existing mentoring organizations, matching a caring adult with children in need through safe, effective mentoring programs. This "Mentoring Mindset" and partnership will provide a pathway for public servants to further serve Milwaukee youth.

City of Milwaukee employees are able to use a maximum of 32 hours of paid leave per fiscal year to mentor.

To become a mentor, register here. 

MENTOR Greater Milwaukee Volunteer Time Off Request & Verification Form

Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Common Council set a $15 per hour minimum wage for City of Milwaukee Employees

On July 7, 2021, the Common Council unanimously approved file #210343, which raises the minimum payable wage for all City of Milwaukee employees to $15.00/hour. As residents of the City of Milwaukee are governed by a 3% residency incentive, the minimum rate of pay for residents of the City of Milwaukee will be $15.45/hour. This minimum payable wage is effective September 5, 2021.

Among the employees impacted by the change are library circulation aides, library teen outreach interns, school crossing guards, temporary election workers, fire cadets, and police aides. The additional cost of the wage changes will be managed within this year’s City budget and included in the Mayor’s budget proposal for 2022.

Employees whose rates have been adjusted up to these new minimum wage rates will see the change reflected on their September 30, 2021 paycheck. Employees with a question about their September 30, 2021 paycheck should reach out to their department’s human resources personnel.

2% General Wage Increase Effective Pay Period 2, 2022 

Frequently Asked Questions

Ethics and Harassment Training for Elected Officials & Appointees

The Milwaukee Code of Ordinance states that each elected official and appointee shall complete ethics and harassment training provided by the Department of Employee Relations or its designee within 120 days of election or appointment to office.

Click here for more information and to register for upcoming sessions.

The City of Milwaukee is proud to employ a diverse workforce that is committed to providing exemplary service to the City’s residents. If you have a passion for being a part of an inclusive team of public servants and shaping the future of the City, please consider working with us!

Our 7,000 person workforce carries on the daily business of the City of Milwaukee, making our community stronger. What we do today shapes the Milwaukee of tomorrow.

Why work for the City of Milwaukee?

  • Make an Impact
  • Career Progression
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Passionate Environment
  • Stability
  • Comprehensive Benefits Program

What benefits do we offer?

  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan
  • Health & Dental Insurance
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Comprehensive Wellness Program
  • Onsite Clinic Services
  • Onsite Employee Assistance Program
  • Alternative Work Schedules
  • Long-term Disability Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Tuition Benefits
  • Paid Vacation
  • 11 Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Leave & other Paid Leaves
  • Flexible Spending Arrangement
  • Commuter Value Pass
  • National Award-Winning 457 Deferred Compensation Plan


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