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Frequent Questions

Employer Charges

Who is the chargeable employer?
The chargeable employer is the most recent base period employer for whom the claimant was separated and had worked at least four (4) weeks and earned at least $160 each week.

What are the earnings requirements for UI benefits?
To be eligible for UI benefits, an individual must have been paid at least $9,600 in either the base period or an alternate base period (defined below). If they did not earn this amount, they may be eligible if they meet all of the following conditions:

1. They were paid at least $1,600 in one of the base period quarters, and
2. They were paid total base period taxable wages of at least one and one-half times their highest single quarter earnings, and
3. They were paid total base period taxable wages of at least $3,200.

Also, if they have had a previous claim, they must have worked again since filing that claim and must have been paid taxable wages of at least eighty times the Rhode Island minimum hourly wage of $8.00 or $640.


SECTION 28-43-1

§ 28-43-1  Definitions. – The following words and phrases as used in this chapter have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

   (7) "Most recent employer" means the last base period employer from whom an individual was separated from employment and for whom the individual worked for at least four (4) weeks, and in each of those four (4) weeks had earnings of at least twenty (20) times the minimum hourly wage as defined in chapter 12 of this title.

What is a base period?
The base period is the period we look at to determine if they have been paid sufficient wages to be monetarily eligible. Normally, the base period consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the starting date of the new claim. The calendar quarters are:

January 1 through March 31
April 1 through June 30
July 1 through September 30
October 1 through December 31

If wages from one of these quarters had to be used to establish a previous claim using the alternate base period, that quarter's wages cannot be used again to compute the current claim.

What is an alternate base period?
If an individual submits a new claim and they do not meet the minimum earnings requirements in the regular base period, we will re-compute the claim using an alternate base period. This period consists of the last four completed calendar quarters before the starting date of the claim. The individual must still meet the same overall earnings requirements, however, the alternate base period will allow some of the more recent wages to be counted towards establishing the claim.

How much will an individual receive for unemployment? How much will an individual receive for dependency allowance?
The weekly benefit rate will be equal to 4.15% of the average of the 2 highest quarters in the base period. By law, a maximum weekly benefit rate is determined annually. It is equal to 57.5% of the average weekly wage of all workers covered by the Employment Security Act. An individual’s weekly benefit rate remains the same throughout the benefit year.

Effective 7/7/14, our minimum is $41 and maximum is $566, not including dependency allowance.

If an individual has dependent children under 18 years of age, they may be entitled to a dependency allowance. Handicapped children over 18 may also qualify for the allowance.

The dependency allowance is limited to five (5) dependents and is equal to 5% of the weekly benefit rate for each dependent. There is a $15 minimum per dependent.

The dependency allowance established at the start of the benefit year remains the same even if the number of children should change during the year (If 2 or more parties make claims for the same dependent for the same week, the person who has physical custody receives the allowance).

How long can an individual claimant collect regular unemployment benefits?
The duration of a claim is equal to 33% of the total base period wages divided by the basic weekly benefit amount.

The most individuals are allowed to collect of regular unemployment benefits is an amount equal to 26 full weeks. Individuals may claim these weeks any time they are unemployed during the benefit year.

Partial Unemployment
If an individual works part-time, they must report all wages earned for any week in which they claim benefits.

If an individual worked less than full-time hours (as defined by the occupation) and the gross wages are less than their weekly benefit rate; the individual should qualify for a partial benefit payment as well as a partial earnings incentive (the department would deduct the gross earnings from the weekly benefit rate and then add on 20% of the weekly benefit rate).

RI Department of Labor and Training
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8000
Fax (401) 462-8666
TTY via RI Relay: 711
7/7/14 MDF
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