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Effective 6/27, all federal unemployment benefits were discontinued. The final benefit week claimants could file for is week ending 6/26. Any eligible benefit weeks prior to 6/27 that are pending will still include federal benefits when processed. Learn more about the Governor’s Back to Work Initiative, or apply for the $1,200 incentive HERE.”

UI Contribution Rates

Oklahoma’s unemployment insurance trust fund supported historic benefit payout levels to unemployed individuals in 2020. State law requires OESC to monitor the solvency of the UI Trust Fund, which pays for the benefits to eligible claimants, and change the next year's employer contribution rates if solvency falls to a specific level. 2020's assessment found solvency decreased, putting the highest contribution rate level in effect starting Jan. 1, 2021.

Our Annual Rate Notice sent in September detailed this major change. The notice, which went to every Oklahoma employer, contains a unique Benefit Wage Ratio based on wage reports submitted to OESC. We derive the rates employers' pay from that ratio, generated with the State's Current Experience Factor (50%) and its Conditional Factor (D).

Your "Notice of Employer Contribution Rate" contains your updated Benefit Wage Ratio and Contribution Rate for 2021. This graph shows how your rate and others correspond with the ratio. You can also find this information in the last two pages of the Oklahoma Employment Security Act. When viewing the information in the act, reference rows: State Experience Factor 50%, and Conditional Factor D. More on the calculation of these rates is in Article 3 of the OES Act.

New effective final rates for 2021 will range from .3% to no higher than 7.5%.

The 2021 rate changes are not impacted by employers' unemployment charges related to the pandemic.

Note for Employers: Before starting your First Quarter 2021 reporting to OESC, don't forget to change payroll processing software to the new contribution rate and the taxable wage limit found on your Notice of Employers Contribution Rate.

OESC calculates employer contribution rates using the numbers that employers provide in their quarterly wage reports. The rate calculation involves dividing the benefit wage charges (BWC) into the timely taxable wages. The BWC ratio is the percentage of the amount of benefit wages charges are to the total.

Example - Benefit wage charge amount of $10,000 divided by the amount of timely taxable wages of $300,000 ends up with a benefit wage charge ratio of 3.3%. The $10,000 is 3.3% of the $300,000. The benefit wage ratio is then used to calculate the contribution rate according to the table in the Oklahoma Employment Security Act, which for 2021 comes to a contribution rate of 2.8%.

Note that the contribution rate is different than the benefit wage charges, which are the taxable base period wages reported by employers to OESC for claimants and used to determine benefits eligibility as a result of either total or partial unemployment.

If you wish to protest your contribution rate, you may do so by filling out our Employer Contribution Rate Protest Form and submitting it to Your protest must be filed within 20 days of the mailing date on your rate change notice. If you email/fax your protest, your date of submission will be the time stamp of the email/fax, not the date noted on the actual protest form. If you mail the form in, the date of submission will be the postmarked date on the submission by the postal service.

Bear in mind - employers can only protest the rate calculation. Many employers attempt to re-open the claimant eligibility to challenge the benefit wage charge(s) on their accounts. This rate protest does not provide for that and only addresses the calculation. Errors found through the protest process are extraordinarily rare. The rate is final, and any amount owed must be paid.

When an employer disagrees with a contribution rate or benefit wage charge, the first step is to submit a protest. Typically, protests will be sufficient to resolve matters; however, there may be cases where an employer disagrees with a decision on a protest and wishes to file an appeal. The Assessment Board at OESC will hear cases concerning employer unemployment tax accounts, such as: employer contribution rates, whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, assessments of contributions or reimbursement payments, waivers of penalty or interest, and more.

Have questions?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for employers.