Utah's Unemployment Insurance Division was honored for its continual innovation and efficiency by Governor Gary R. Herbert at the annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence ceremony.
The Unemployment Insurance Division is made up of 185 employees who serve 80,000 Utah employers and annually process more than 65,000 unemployment claims. Utah’s unemployment tax and benefits program has been recognized as the best nationally by the U.S. Department of Labor for seven of the last eight years; yet, such recognition has not slowed improvement.
Currently, Utah employers enjoy the ninth lowest unemployment insurance tax rate in the nation due to the Contributions Unit accurately setting the annual rate, then ensuring proper worker classification, providing new employer coordination and conducting proactive collections. Consequently, in 2018, Utah collected $185 million less in unemployment taxes compared to 2013, yet still has the seventh healthiest trust fund nationally.
The Benefits Unit actively helps those receiving unemployment quickly re-engage with the workforce, resulting in Utah having the eleventh lowest benefit duration in the nation. Additionally, the Benefits Unit ensures only those who are eligible receive benefits, achieving the fourth lowest improper payment rate nationally.
In 2018, benefit timeliness was the highest in four years, and benefit accuracy and new employer status determinations were the best on record; all while going through a significant IT system modernization and a federal shutdown with 30 percent more claims.
Improvement continues in 2019 with the implementation of mandatory online initial claim filing and employer quarterly filing. Utah’s system is well-designed and the model is refined, but ultimately the incredible staff — from support staff to management and everyone in between — make the Unemployment Insurance Division great and continuously getting better.