About the Division of Employment Security
The Division of Employment Security collects tax contributions from employers and pays unemployment benefits to individuals who are determined eligible under the law. State unemployment contributions paid by Missouri employers into the Missouri Trust Fund are set aside for the sole purpose of providing for the payment of weekly unemployment benefits to qualified claimants. The unemployment benefits paid to insured workers help to maintain the economy of the state during periods of economic downturn by helping preserve the level of consumer purchasing power.
The Division of Employment Security (DES) is the state agency responsible for the administration of the unemployment insurance (UI) benefit and tax program. The DES has responsibility to both workers and employers.
The DES strives to administer the employer tax provisions of the law equitably in accordance with the intent of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri. An effort is made to tax employers as little as possible while at the same time providing essential (UI) benefits to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are able, available, and actively seeking work.
The Missouri Employment Security Laws must conform to certain standards in the Federal Unemployment Tax Law administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. By conforming to this law, Missouri employers are allowed to take a credit on federal unemployment tax returns if state unemployment taxes are paid timely. This credit is allowed regardless of an employer’s state tax rate.
In Missouri, unemployment taxes are paid entirely by employers who are liable under the Missouri Employment Security Law, found at Chapter 288 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. No deductions are made from the workers’ wages.
Wage information and other confidential UI information may be requested and utilized for other governmental purposes including, but not limited to, verification of an individual’s eligibility for other government programs.
Meet the Director
Nia Ray was appointed to serve as the Director of the Division of Employment Security in December 2013.
Prior to her appointment, Ray served the public sector as Assistant Legal Counsel to the Governor from 2001 to 2003, the Labor Counsel for the Missouri Office of Administration from 2003 to 2005. Most recently, she held the posts of Executive Director of the Missouri Workforce Investment Board from 2009 to 2012 and Director of the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) from 2012 to 2013.
In addition, Ray’s experience includes municipal public sector work and private sector law firm experience. Ray is appointed to both the Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation Council and State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind.
Ray earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and a law degree from the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign.
Ray has one daughter, Vivianne Grace.