The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that the 2014 Unemployment Insurance taxable wage base will be $20,600 for most employers in Rhode Island. This represents a $400 increase from the current year. By law, the Unemployment Insurance taxable wage base represents 46.5 percent of the average annual wage in Rhode Island.
The 2014 taxable wage base for those employers in the highest Unemployment Insurance tax rate (9.79%) group will be $22,100—$1,500 greater than the taxable wage base for all other employers, per RI law. This higher wage base, which impacts approximately 17.5 percent of RI experience-rated employers, is intended to help offset the large drain these employers have on the Employment Security Trust Fund. Last year, 39.8 percent of all Unemployment Insurance benefit payments were attributed to the top 17.5 percent of RI experience-rated employers.
The Employment Security Fund, financed by assessments from 30,900 private businesses in the state, covers the cost of Unemployment Insurance benefits for RI workers. The fund's taxable wage base represents the maximum amount of an employee's earned wages that are subject to taxation in any given year.
While the wage base limits the amount of wages that are taxable, tax rates for individual employers vary according to their experience with the Unemployment Insurance system. These rates range from a minimum of 1.69 percent to a maximum of 9.79 percent. Employers will be notified of their new individual tax rates in December. The 2014 rate for new employers will be 2.85 percent, an increase of 0.02 of a percentage point from the 2013 rate for new employers.
The Department also announced today that the employee contribution rate to the Temporary Disability Insurance Fund will remain unchanged at 1.2 percent. The contribution rate is calculated by dividing total adjusted fund disbursements for a 12-month period by taxable wages for a 12-month period.
However, in 2014 the TDI taxable wage base will be $62,700, an increase of $1,300 over last year's taxable wage base. The maximum TDI contribution will be $752.40 next year, an increase of $15.60 from the 2013 maximum contribution of $736.80.
Temporary Disability Insurance provides benefit payments to insured RI workers for weeks of unemployment caused by disability. Last year, approximately 396,650 workers contributed to the TDI fund.