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Employee Separation

When an unemployment claim is filed by an individual, a "Notice of Application for Unemployment Compensation" (OES-617) is mailed to the separating employer and all base period employers.

The separating employer is a claimant's most recent employer before they filed for unemployment benefits.

A base period employer is any employer that reported wages on their quarterly report for the claimant in question during the claimant's base period. The base period is the first four of the previous five completed calendar quarters from when the claimant filed their initial claim. This means employers may receive a notice for a former employee who separated anytime during the previous year and a half.

Only the separating employer may protest or respond to the "Notice of Application for Unemployment Compensation" (OES-617). Separating employers must respond to a notice within 10 days of the mailing date to retain protest rights to future activity against their account regarding the claimant in question. 

Protests/responses may be completed by using our Employer Discharge Statement Document (OES-921) or Employer Voluntary Quit Statement (OES-922), or by using your own formal correspondence. Responses can be submitted to OESC via the methods below.

FAX: 405-962-7524

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
ATTN: Unemployment Service Center
PO Box 52006
Oklahoma City, OK 73152. 

If an employee works full-time (i.e., 32 hours or more per week), but has their hours reduced to less than 32 per week, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. If they are eligible for benefits, they must report any earnings the week they are earned. Earnings over $100 are deducted from the individual's unemployment benefits. Subsequently, if the individual earns $100 more during a week than the weekly benefit amount, no benefits will be paid. 

If an employee is temporarily laid off (i.e., has a return-to-work date within eight weeks of the last day worked), they may be eligible for unemployment benefits. The eight week return-to-work date normally suspends our work registration and work search requirements.

It would depend on why they quit. Various sections of the Oklahoma Security Act may apply. You can access the most recent Oklahoma Employment Security Act on our Policies page. Sections 2-404, 2-404.1, 2-404.2 and 2-210 all cover various situations surrounding voluntarily quitting a job. If the claimant can show good cause for quitting, benefits will be allowed. Section 2-405 provides a list of good cause reasons. Section 2-210 indicates: if the claimant quit on the advice of a doctor, to relocate with a spouse who has accepted employment outside of commuting distance or quits due to domestic violence or abuse benefits will be allowed. In the 2-210 situations, benefit wage charges may be waived provided the employer protests the payment of benefits and protests the benefit wage charge. 

A mass claim is a claim initiated by the employer when a temporary shutdown occurs. In order to file the mass claim, the employer must have at least 25 employees and must complete an excel file with specific information on each employee. The file will establish claims and employees will need to file weekly certifications for payment until they return to work. Inquiries on mass claims may be sent to Please note, mass claims need a few days to process to ensure that the file is correct. If you have closed and are unable to correspond with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC), please have your employees file their own claims at

Benefit Wage Charges

If a claimant is allowed benefits based on the reason for separation from the most recent employer at the time an initial claim was filed, and a valid benefit year is established, a "Notice of Benefit Wages" (OES-502) is mailed to each base period employer showing the amount of base period wages being charged. This form is sent after the claimant is issued their fifth week of unemployment benefits in the benefit year.

Benefit wage charges are the taxable base period wages reported by an employer to OESC through the quarterly wage reports. Benefit wage charges are used to create an employer's benefit wage ratio, which is used to calculate an employer's annual contribution rate. 

Once a benefit wage charge is applied to the account, it will remain for three calendar years before it is removed from your annual rate calculation.

Employers can protest a "Notice of Benefit Wages" (OES-502) by submitting a Benefit Wage Charge Protest Form (OES-502P) within 20 days of the date on the notice. If a protest is submitted after 20 days, or if you have previously failed to respond to the "Notice of Application for Unemployment Compensation" (OES-617) for the corresponding claimant, your protest will be denied. 

Each employer who has reported wages on their quarterly report for the claimant in question during the claimant's base period* will receive a "Notice of Benefit Wages" (OES-502). This means employers may receive a notice for a former employee who separated anytime during the previous year and a half.

*The base period is the first four of the previous five completed calendar quarters (appx. first 12 of the previous 15 months).

Employers may receive one of two notices.

  • A "Notice of Cancellation of Benefit Wages" is issued if the base period charge has been canceled and will not be used in computing the employer's annual contribution rate. 
  • A "Notice of Determination to Base Period Employer" is issuedif the base period charge will remain and be used to compute the rate. 

Employers have the right to appeal this determination in writing within 20 days from the date the determination was mailed.

Benefit wage charges were waived during the COVID-19 pandemic for experience-rated employers. This waiver expired June 30, 2021. 

Any eligible claim for unemployment benefits with an effective date after July 3, 2021 (the last day in the week that includes the June 30 expiration date) will result in a benefit wage charge at the 5th compensable week of unemployment.

Contribution Rates

This notice is sent at the end of September each year and includes your rate for the upcoming calendar year. 

If there are any significant changes to your account (i.e., increase in unemployment benefits claimed against your account, adjustment to the taxable wages, removal of a benefit wage charge, etc.) additional notices will be mailed for each year that has a rate impacted by the change.

You can protest both annual and daily rate notices; although, errors in the computation of rates are rare since they are calculated by a computer. If you wish to protest a rate, you can do so by completing an Employer Contribution Rate Protest Form (OES-048P) within 20 days of the notice issue date. If a protest is submitted after 20 days, it will be denied unless "good cause" can be provided. 

Please keep in mind that a rate protest can only challenge the calculation of the rate, which uses the benefit wage ratio and timely taxable wage numbers.

State law does not allow for a reduction of employers' rates. A rate protest can only challenge benefit wage ratio calculations and timely taxable wage numbers.

Submit timely responses to all OES-617 "Notice of Application for Unemployment Compensation" so that you can retain protest rights for future claimant activity against your account.

Review all OES-502 "Notice of Benefit Wage Charges" and protest any fraudulent claims within the allotted protest time period.

Submit quarterly contribution reports and tax payments in a timely manner.

Review all OES-541 "Notice of Determination" and appeal as needed.

All new employers with no previous rate history are assigned a 1.5% rate.

If you are an established employer who has filed four consecutive no-wage reports, your rate will be reverted to the new employer rate during the next calendar year.

Employers can pay their balance through our EZ Tax Express portal.

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