Wages Defined
The term "wages" for the purpose of unemployment insurance means all payment for services rendered including salaries, commissions, bonuses, vacation and holiday pay, severance pay and the cash value of all compensation, including benefits, in any medium other than cash. This includes:

  • Salaries, commissions and bonuses before deductions
  • Any amount actually drawn by an employee from a drawing account
  • Advances against commissions
  • Payments made to corporate officers, including corporate officers of an S corporation
  • Tips and gratuities when reported in writing to the employer by the employee – employees must provide a written statement reporting all tips received if they total $20 or more in a month
  • Sick pay and accident disability payments – payments made by a third party, i.e., insurance companies – the third party is considered the employer and responsible for reporting to KDOL, unless the third party or insurance company reports sick pay payments to the employer
  • Employee contributions (elective deferrals) into a 401(k) Deferred Compensation Plan
  • Severance pay or dismissal payments irrespective of whether the employer is legally required to make such payment
  • Back pay awards or settlements such as a result of National Labor Relations Board decisions or binding arbitration by an independent arbitrator

Wage Exclusions
The following payments are not considered to be wages:

  • Medical or hospitalization expenses in connection with sickness or accident disability
  •  Payments to a health savings account, if such payments can be excluded from income under the Federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986
  • Death benefits for employees
  • Certain trusts, annuity plans, bond purchase plans or simplified pension plans purchased on behalf of an employee or the employee's beneficiary
  • Certain benefits under a cafeteria plan
  • Payment of the employee's share of Social Security for domestic and agricultural workers
  • Payment made in any medium other than cash to an employee for service not in the employer's normal course of business or trade
  • Moving expenses paid by an employer for an employee
  • Payment made to an employee or his dependents because of death or disability retirement
  • Payment for agricultural labor in any medium other than cash
  • Payment of dependent care assistance programs for employees under a qualified plan
  • Meals or lodging furnished by the employer for the convenience of the employer
  • Payment made to a survivor or estate of a former employee after the calendar year in which the employee died
  • Employee achievement awards, qualified scholarships and certain fringe benefits
  • Payments or benefits relating to educational assistance under section 127 of the Federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986
  • Employer matching contributions and other forms of employer contributions to a 401(k) Deferred Compensation Plan