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UI Performance Measures

Call wait times

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program experiences “peak” periods throughout the year – our biggest peaks are in the summer and winter.  These peaks, or periods of high claim filing activity, are the result of many factors including seasonal holiday layoffs, manufacturing work schedules, and school employment calendars. 

The UI Call Center has traditionally experienced excessively high wait times during these peak periods, and during other parts of the year as well.  Long wait times to speak with a call center agent is frustrating for customers who are attempting to file for benefits and for employers who need to interact with the Department for any number of important reasons. 

The graph below shows the average call wait times for each day during the summer 2016 peak compared to the summer 2015 peak.  The summer 2016 peak ran from June 13, 2016, to July 15, 2016.  The 2015 peak ran from June 15, 2015, to July 17, 2015. 

UI Call Center Wait Times - Summer Peak 2016 vs. 2015

Overall the average wait time during the 2016 summer peak was 11 minutes and 45 seconds.  During the 2015 summer peak the wait time was 30 minutes and 44 seconds.  The call center made these improvements in spite of receiving 28% more calls during this year’s peak.  The call center staffing level was roughly equivalent during both summer peak periods.

For the year as a whole, the UI call center’s wait time has decreased significantly in 2016 compared to 2015.  After subjecting customers to unacceptably high call volumes in January and February of this year, the call center has improved its operations significantly and has performed better than prior year’s averages each month of 2016 since February. 

The graph below shows the average call wait times for 2015 and 2016, through July.


USDOL Timeliness Measures

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) establishes certain performance goals for all state UI programs.  Two of the most important goals relate to how quickly the UI program pays benefits to claims (“first payment timeliness”) and how quickly the UI program makes a determination about whether an individual seeking benefits is eligible for UI (this is referred to as “nonmonetary determination timeliness”).

First Payment Timeliness

First benefit payment timeliness is important to ensure that unemployed workers received UI income support as quickly as possible.  USDOL specifies that UI programs must issue initial payments to claimants within 14 days in at least 87% of all cases.  The graph below shows the UI program’s first payment timeliness scores for 2015 and 2016 through June.  (July data will not be available until August 15th.)

The lowest first payment timeliness score during 2015 was 76.5% in March.  That score placed Rhode Island 33rd out of the 50 states and fourth in New England for performance in this area.

In June, 2016, Rhode Island’s score of 93.1% was the 11th highest in the country and second highest in New England.  The June, 2016, score was also the highest score for the state in more than 10 years.

Non-Monetary Determination Timeliness

Issuing non-monetary decisions in a timely manner is important to ensure that claimants receive benefits to which they are entitled and employers are not burdened with improper unemployment insurance charges.  USDOL specifies that UI programs must make non-monetary determinations within 21 days in at least 80% of all cases.    The graph below shows the UI program’s non-monetary timeliness scores for 2015 and 2016 through June.  (July data will not be available until August 15th.)

The UI program has made significant improvements in the area of non-monetary determination timeliness since the beginning of 2015.  In February, 2015, the score was 14.4%, which was the lowest such score in any of the 50 states.  In June, 2016, the UI program’s score was 90.0%, which was 10th in the U.S., second in New England, and the State’s highest score in more than 10 years.


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
5/24/17 MDF
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