Unemployment Tax Rates for Oregon Employers to Decrease in 2016

Unemployment tax rates for most Oregon employers will decline January 1, 2016. Employers that pay into the system will move from Schedule 5 to Schedule 4, saving the average Oregon employer about $69 per employee annually. Tax Schedule 4 includes an average rate of 2.26% for the first $36,900 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. The Oregon Employment Department is mailing notifications to businesses today regarding their individual tax rates. The tax structure for Oregon’s unemployment trust fund consists of eight schedules. Movement between the schedules of tax rates is one of the self-balancing aspects of Oregon’s unemployment insurance trust fund law. 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. Oregon law requires the Employment Department to use a statutory formula to determine employer payroll tax rates for the upcoming year. These taxes go into the unemployment insurance trust fund used to pay unemployment benefits. At its lowest point in 2010, the trust fund had a balance of just under $700 million, but as of October 31, 2015, the balance stood at more than $2.7 billion. Oregon’s self-balancing approach results in the state having one of the strongest trust funds in the nation. The trust fund provides an important support for temporarily unemployed workers, their families and communities while minimizing the impact on employers.

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