Press Release
September 11, 2019

Utah’s Unemployment Insurance operations recognized as a top-performing program nationally
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the state for excellence in unemployment insurance appeals decisions and tax operations

SALT LAKE CITY (September 11, 2019) — The U.S. Department of Labor recognized the Utah Department of Workforce Services today with two operational excellence awards for unemployment insurance appeals decisions and tax operations. The national recognition distinguishes Utah as a top-performing state for operating its unemployment insurance and appeals programs faster and more effectively than other medium-sized states.

“These awards recognize our efforts to support both employers and job seekers in times of unemployment,” said Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Department of Workforce Services. “Never resting on our laurels and our unremitting commitment to administering Utah’s unemployment insurance program both efficiently and effectively has led to this recognition of operational excellence.”

The award ceremony recognized the Workforce Services’ Appeals Division for resolving issues and providing fair hearings in an efficient and timely manner. The division ensures all those involved in an unemployment insurance case receive due process. The Appeals Division is an autonomous, quasi-judicial agency whose primary function is to hear and decide appeals of Workforce Services’ decisions concerning unemployment insurance benefits, as well as other temporary supportive services.

“We’re continuously striving to decrease wait times for hearings and increase the timeliness of appeals decisions to better serve Utah’s employers and job seekers,” said Kathy Bounous, director of the Appeals Division. “Our legal team’s sound procedures allow us to equitably serve all parties in a timely manner.”

In addition, Workforce Services’ Unemployment Insurance Division was honored for its management of tax operations. In Utah, more than 80,000 employers make contributions to a trust fund through the state unemployment insurance tax. These funds are used exclusively to pay benefits to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

“Utah’s unemployment insurance system is well-designed and our model is refined,” said Kevin Burt, director of the Unemployment Insurance Division. “Beyond the numbers, I’m most proud of our staff for executing their responsibilities with integrity, efficiency and excellence in every unit within our unemployment program.”

The awards were presented at the National Workforce Summit and Unemployment Insurance Directors' Conference in Boston. For more information, visit