(1) Until benefits have been payable from and chargeable to an employer’s experience account throughout the preceding four calendar quarters and wages for employment have been paid by the employer in each of the two preceding four-calendar-quarter periods, the employer’s combined tax rate shall be:
(a) For employers not engaged in the construction industry, the lesser of the value of the state's average combined tax rate as determined pursuant to section 48-649.03 or two and five-tenths percent; and
(b) For employers engaged in the construction industry, the value of the category twenty rate determined pursuant to section 48-649.03.
(2) In no event shall the combined tax rate under subsection (1) of this section be less than one and twenty-five hundredths percent.
(3) For any employer who has not paid wages for employment during each of the two preceding four-calendar-quarter periods ending on September 30, but has paid wages for employment in any two four-calendar-quarter periods, regardless of whether such four-calendar-quarter periods are consecutive, such employer's combined tax rate for the following tax year shall be:
(a) The highest combined tax rate for employers with a positive experience account balance if the employer's experience account balance exhibits a positive balance as of September 30 of the year of rate computation; or
(b) The standard rate if the employer's experience account exhibits a negative balance as of September 30 of the year of rate computation.