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Contribution Rates

Oklahoma employers are required to pay a contribution rate to the Oklahoma Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund. This fund issues temporary income (benefits) to eligible claimants who become totally or partially unemployed. Every September, a "Notice of Employer Contribution Rate" is sent to every “experience-rated” Oklahoma employer which contains their updated benefit wage ratio and contribution rate for the upcoming year.

In 2020 the UI Trust Fund supported historic benefit payout levels to unemployed individuals, and in the process decreased in solvency. This caused the state’s experience factor to change to 50%, and the conditional factor to D, which caused many employers to see an increase in their contribution rates for 2021.

The graph below shows how rates compare for 2021 based on benefit wage ratios. Contribution rates for 2021 range from .3% to no higher than 7.5%. These rates were not impacted by benefit wage charges, which were waived during the pandemic.

OESC calculates employer contribution rates using the information provided in an employer's quarterly wage reports, as well as the state's current experience factor (50%) and conditional factor (D). The rate calculation involves dividing the benefit wage charges (BWC) into the timely taxable wages to create a benefit wage ratio. That ratio is then used to calculate the employer's contribution rate using the Rate Table in the Oklahoma Employment Security Act (last 2 pages).

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 ratio of 3.3%. The $10,000 is 3.3% of the $300,000. The benefit wage ratio is then referenced on the Rate Table in the Oklahoma Employment Security Act, using the state's current experience factor (50%) and conditional factor (D), which shows a contribution rate of 2.8% (for 2021). 

More information about contribution rates, and the various factors that go into it by viewing article 3 of the Oklahoma Employment Security Act.

Employers can protest contribution rates; although, errors in the computation of rates are rare since it is calculated by a computer. Keep in mind, this is separate process from protesting benefit wage charges or employee separations. To protest a “Notice of Employer Contribution Rate”, submit an OES-048P Employer Contribution Rate Protest Form within 20 days of the date on the notice. If a protest is submitted after 20 days, it will not be considered unless "good cause" can be provided (see Oklahoma Administrative Code 240:10-11-24). For efficient and quicker processing, protest forms should be emailed to employerrates@oesc.state.ok.us.


Benefit Wage Charges

When an individual is allowed unemployment benefits and receives their 5th week of unemployment, an OES-502 "Notice of Benefit Wages" is mailed to each base period employer showing the amount of base period wages being charged. Benefit wage charges (BWC) 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. This ratio is used to calculate an employer's annual contribution rate.

Any "Notice of Benefit Wages" received should be retained for record keeping, as no additional transcript will be furnished.

Protesting Your Benefit Wage Charges

Employers can protest benefit wage charges. Keep in mind, this is a separate process from protesting annual contribution rates and employee separations. To protest a "Notice of Benefit Wages", employers must submit an OES-502P Benefit Wage Charge Protest Form within 20 days of the date on the notice. If a protest is submitted after 20 days, it will not be considered unless "good cause" can be provided (see Oklahoma Administrative Code 240:10-11-24). For efficient and quicker processing, protest forms should be emailed to employerrates@oesc.state.ok.us.

For a detailed list of acceptable reasons for protest, visit the Benefit Wage Charges section of our Frequently Asked Questions page for employers.


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.