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Labor and Economic Opportunity

What is a base period?

The base period is the four completed calendar quarters in which wages paid to you are considered for determining your Weekly Benefit Amount and the number of weeks of entitlement. In most cases the base period will be the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the week you file your new claim for benefits.  The four calendar quarters in a year are: January – March; April – June; July – September; and October – December.

The UIA will look at your standard base period to determine if your wages qualify you for unemployment benefits. If you cannot qualify based on your standard base period, the UIA will consider your wages in the “alternate” base period, which is the four most recently completed calendar quarters.

There are two ways in which your wages may qualify you for unemployment benefits:

Regular (Standard Base Period) method: There must be wages in at least two quarters in the base period. For benefit years beginning January 1, 2019, one quarter’s wages must be at least $3,667 and total wages for all four quarters must equal at least one and a half times the highest amount of wages paid in any quarter of the base period ($3,667 x 1.5 = $5,500).


Alternate Earnings Qualifier (AEQ):  (a) You must have wages in at least two quarters; and (b) total wages for all four quarters must equal at least 20 times the state average weekly wage (SAWW). For 2019, the AEQ amount is $20,458.40 [20 x $1.022.92 (SAWW) = $20,458.40].