California’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) system is the largest state system, processing 1.5 million new claims per year, and paying out more than $5.2 billion annually in UI checks. During the five years (1999-2004) that I was director of the state Employment Development Department (EDD), which administers the UI system, I found many California businesses paying too little attention to their UI accounts — to their financial detriment.

My colleague Hilary Hardcastle and I have compiled the five big mistakes that California businesses make in handling their UI claims — and advice on how to avoid these mistakes.