Rad23a and Rad23b proteins are linked to nucleotide excision DNA repair (NER) via association with the DNA damage recognition protein xeroderma pigmentosum group C (XPC) are and known to be implicated in protein turnover by the 26S proteasome. Rad23b-null mice are NER proficient, likely due to the redundant function of the Rad23b paralogue, Rad23a. However, Rad23b-null midgestation embryos are anemic, and most embryos die before birth. Using an unbiased proteomics approach, we found that the majority of Rad23b-interacting partners are associated with the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). We tested the requirement for Rad23b-dependent UPS activity in cellular proliferation and more specifically in the process of erythropoiesis. In cultured fibroblasts derived from embryos lacking Rad23b, proliferation rates were reduced. In fetal livers of Rad23b-null embryos, we observed reduced proliferation, accumulation of early erythroid progenitors, and a block during erythroid maturation. In primary wild-type (WT) erythroid cells, knockdown of Rad23b or chemical inhibition of the proteasome reduced survival and differentiation capability. Finally, the defects linked to Rad23b loss specifically affected fetal definitive erythropoiesis and stress erythropoiesis in adult mice. Together, these data indicate a previously unappreciated requirement for Rad23b and the UPS in regulation of proliferation in different cell types.