(1) The mediator shall have 45 days from the date the mediation request was received by the department to hold mediation conferences. The mediator shall send notice to the parties identifying the following: issues to be mediated; information required prior to the time of the mediation conference; and the time and place of the mediation conference. The 45 day period may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties. If a party requests an in-person mediation conference, the mediator may extend the 45 day period to 60 days to set up the in-person conference. If the mediator does not hold a mediation conference within the time frames provided herein, the parties may proceed directly to workers' compensation court.