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The Business Impact of Unemployment Claims

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate increased slightly in 2019 to 5.1%.  In the last quarter of 2018 unemployment was 4.9%.                                                                                                                                                 Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 


In the state of Arizona, most employers pay unemployment tax on the first $7,000 of all employee salaries, but not everyone coughs up the same amount of cash.  Your state unemployment tax (i.e. SUTA) is based on your history with unemployment claims.  The more claims the state awards to former employees, the more your company will pay in unemployment taxes.


Arizona unemployment tax rates range from a minimum of 0.02 percent to a maximum (ordinarily) of 5.40 percent on the first $7,000 in wages paid to each employee in a calendar year.                                             Source:  AZ Unemployment Insurance: Employer Handbook


If you want to keep your SUTA rate down, you need to keep a comprehensive file on each employee.  Documenting every disciplinary action that arises, and what action(s) were taken, will help you dispute a claim when the employee is discharged for cause.

The state will take all evidence (the business owner’s and the former employee’s) into account when deciding whether a claim should be awarded.   Should an employee be awarded unemployment and the company chooses to dispute it, employers will have 60 days to issue a written appeal (see page 35 of the online AZ Unemployment Insurance:  Employer Handbook.)


          If you discharge a worker for what you consider “misconduct” and believe the worker should not be eligible for benefits, you must establish that there was misconduct. Merely alleging misconduct is insufficient.  If the claimant denies misconduct, you must present evidence to refute the denial.               Source:  AZ Unemployment Insurance: Employer Handbook


Managing unemployment claims is a tedious process for most companies.  No one has time to manage the process and gather the information required to keep rates low.  The amount of money an employer saves can be hundreds or thousands of dollars each year if it’s managed diligently,”  said Sue Foster, Director of Human Resources at Focus HR, Inc.  “Our HR team is driven to keep unemployment rates low for all of our clients.  We manage all claims for our clients, file appeals on behalf of our clients, and help our clients make sure they have all the information they need to keep their rates low.  While SUTA rates may seem like a necessary tax that employers HAVE to pay, rates can be reduced and you can pay less.  Focus HR can help you with that.”

To speak with us about your SUTA rate click here.

To read Arizona’s Employer Handbook click here.

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