Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Mar 27, 2020

WASHINGTON: Work search requirements waived for unemployment

COVID-19Employee Benefits 

Governor Inslee signed a proclamation that waives the work search requirements for receiving unemployment insurance. The governor previously waived the one-week waiting period, so the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide immediate benefits to those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“We need to do whatever we can to help those who are financially impacted by COVID-19,” Inslee said. “It would be counterproductive to require people to search for work when we are asking them to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ to slow the spread of the virus. This is the right thing to do to get money in people’s pockets and waive this requirement for the short-term.” (Governor’s press release, Mar. 25, 2020.)

Tips For Employers: We encourage members to visit the ESD emergency unemployment benefits website. It may be especially helpful to visit their Layoff assistance page to determine what options are available to assist employees during this unprecedented situation. For example, as an alternative to regular layoffs, employers can request to place an employee on “standby” status during a temporary layoff, with the intention of re-employing them when the layoff is no longer necessary. Standby benefits have been increased from 8 weeks to 12 weeks, and part-time employees are now eligible as well. “SharedWork” is another alternative to layoffs, allowing employers to reduce employee hours up to 50 percent while their employees collect partial unemployment benefits to replace some of their lost wages. You need to take action with ESD in order for your employees to receive these benefits.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.