Facts About Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance is an employer-funded program which protects workers against complete loss of wages during periods of involuntary unemployment. Claimants are eligible for unemployment insurance if they meet monetary and personal eligibility requirements.

Monetary eligibility is measured by a claimant's attachment to the labor force. Claimants receive an amount depending upon their earnings during the "base period." The base period is generally the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed just before a claim is filed.

Idaho has an alternate base period option in those cases where an individual has been disabled for some time and does not have wages in the regular base period. In this situation, eligibility may be calculated on a base period of the first four the last five calendar quarters completed immediately prior to the beginning of the period of disability.

If monetarily eligible, a claimant must also meet the following personal eligibility requirements before benefits can be paid:  

  1. unemployed through no fault of his/her own;
  2. able to work;
  3. available for suitable work; and
  4. actively seeking work.

When an individual files an unemployment insurance claim, the Department of Labor notifies the claimant's last employer, and any preceding employers if necessary, with the claimant's reason for separation. The employer is requested to promptly report any facts about the separation which are in conflict with the worker's version.

The return of the form requires immediate attention since payment of benefits cannot be unduly delayed. Prompt return also helps protect the employer's experience rating by limiting benefit charges to those paid to former employees who are involuntarily unemployed. This also protects the Employment Security Fund from paying unemployment insurance benefits to claimants who are ineligible.

Employers fund the Unemployment Insurance program by paying quarterly payroll tax.  Each employer, unless a cost reimbursement employer, is assigned a tax rate known as an experience rate.  This rate is used to calculate quarterly unemployment insurance taxes.

Experience rates are assigned each year...

New employers are assigned a standard rate until they have sufficient employment experience (typically 1 1/2 - 2 years) upon which to base an experience rate.

Idaho's Employment Security Law provides an experience rating system which assigns rates to employers each year based on the employer's actual employment experience. The tax payments and benefit charges in relationship to average payrolls are used to calculate each employer's experience rating.

To obtain more information about unemployment insurance taxes, contact any Department of Labor tax representative. To find the tax representative nearest you, please consult the Tax Representatives directory.


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