Unemployment tax rates for Oregon employers will remain at tax schedule three for 2019. Tax schedule three includes an average rate of 1.97% for the first $40,600 paid to each employee. The specific rate each employer will pay under the new schedule depends on how much they have used the unemployment insurance system.
Oregon adjusts employer tax rates annually using eight tax schedules based on the solvency of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Movement between the eight schedules of tax rates represents part of the self-balancing aspects of Oregon’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund law. Each September, a formula contained in statute, determines how much should be collected during the next year to maintain a solvent fund. Each schedule has a range of tax rates based on an employer’s previous unemployment insurance experience. Employers with more unemployment insurance claims have a higher tax rate than those with fewer claims.
As a result of this approach, Oregon has one of the strongest trust funds in the nation. The trust fund provides support for temporarily unemployed workers, their families, and communities while minimizing the impact on employers. This approach allows support without having to reduce benefits to workers, increase employer taxes, or borrow from the federal government, as most other states had to do for the Great Recession.
Because of Oregon’s innovative Unemployment Trust Fund model, we are well positioned to pay benefits in the next recession. Unlike other states where employers had to pay additional taxes or surcharges when states borrowed to pay benefits, Oregon’s trust fund is earning interest. This reduces the amount that needs to be collected from Oregon employers to maintain the trust fund.
Oregon’s unemployment rate continues a downward trend in 2018. The low number of unemployed workers reflects a very tight job market. This creates some challenges for employers maintaining their workforce, but means that there are far fewer Oregonians who are unable to find a job. The jobs employers provide contribute to a vibrant Oregon economy and support the quality of life for Oregonians.
The Oregon Employment Department mailed notifications to businesses last week regarding their individual tax rates and encourages employers to wait until they receive their individual notice before attempting to contact the department with questions. Any employer who has not received their notice within the next couple of weeks should contact the Oregon Employment Department Unemployment Insurance Tax Section. Contact information may be found online at www.Employment.Oregon.gov.