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When evaluating an unemployment program, you need to track your key performance indicators (“KPI”) to determine your program’s efficacy and progress over time. Here is what we recommend tracking:

Win Rate (Claims Won/Claims Protested): An employer’s unemployment win rate is simply “Claims Won”/ “Claims Protested,” and we like to see a win rate of 92% or better. However, state and industry factors impose various challenges so that an acceptable win rate may be higher or lower depending on the circumstances. A low win rate can be attributed to poor documentation, failure to follow the company’s termination policy, lack of first-hand testimony, and many other issues. If your company has a low win rate, you should review your lost cases and try to identify common reasons you’re losing claims (e.g., poor documentation). Provide your UI stakeholders with unemployment training about how these types of claims should be handled moving forward.

Compliance Percentage (Compliant Claims/Total Claims): An employer’s compliance percentage is “Claims Submitted in a Timely Manner with Appropriate Documentation”/ “Total Claims” and should be at least 98%. A non-compliant claim does not mean an employer is breaking state laws or subjecting itself to penalties and fees. It does, however, mean that the employer forfeits its right to protest the claim to a hearing because the claim was not submitted in a timely manner and/or was submitted without all appropriate documentation. If you have a low compliance percentage, you should evaluate your UI claims process from an initial request for information until it is submitted to the state agency and determine where there is a breakdown. Often, implementing an escalation procedure defining who needs to be contacted if the initial and secondary RFIs are unsuccessful can mitigate compliance issues.

Protest Percentage (Claims Protested/Total Claims): Protest percentage is “Claims Protested/Total Claims” and can be used to determine how aggressively a company is fighting its claims. Protest rates vary significantly by industry, so it’s hard to provide to a benchmark for an acceptable protest percentage. However, an employer should know its protest percentage and seek to improve it over time.

Unemployment Tax Rates: An employer’s unemployment tax rate is the most important KPI and is your UI program scorecard. An employer can lower its UI rates by managing its unemployment claims and hearings effectively, and by using various tax strategies such as voluntary contributions, joint accounts, and M&A SUTA planning. You should track how your rates change and understand what caused them to change. There are controllable factors, such as an employer’s unemployment claims experience and taxable payroll, that affect unemployment tax rates. There are also uncontrollable factors like the economy, state’s unemployment tax rating system, etc. that will affect an employer’s tax rate but are out of the employer’s control. It is critical for employer to know which factors are changing its SUTA rates.


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