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General FAQ for employers


How can I read and reply to requests for information about my employees who have applied for benefits?

Two ways:

  1. You can access letters and notices we’ve mailed to you and respond to requests for information online using eServices. Find more information about creating your eServices account.
  2. You can also respond by mail.

Can someone refuse a job and continue to collect unemployment benefits?

Claimants need to actively look for suitable work to continue collecting unemployment benefits and they must report if they refuse any job offer while collecting benefits.

Suitable work is defined as work that is consistent with an individual's prior experience, education and training, along with other considerations such as distance of travel to available work. If the refusal was for a suitable job, then ESD might deny benefits.

Can my employees collect unemployment benefits if I cut back their hours?

Possibly. Workers whose hours are cut may qualify for partial unemployment benefits. The more money the employee earns at work, the greater the reduction from an employee’s weekly benefit amount. Employment Security uses an earnings deduction chart to determine a part-time worker’s benefit amount.

Employment Security also offers a program called SharedWork to eligible employers. This program provides an alternative to layoffs by allowing employers to reduce the work hours of their full-time employees while the workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. Participating in the SharedWork Program is a voluntary decision made by the employer.

Can a worker quit and still collect unemployment benefits?

In most cases, no. However, there are limited exceptions. Situations where we consider someone to have “good cause” to quit a job are listed in the Handbook for Unemployed Workers (PDF). In some cases, the benefits paid to the worker will not be charged directly to the former employer. Rather, the benefit charges will be spread out among all taxable employers. 

Why am I being charged benefits for an individual who has not worked for me for almost a year?

A claimant's benefits are usually based on work history during the first four of the previous five completed quarters. For example, a claim filed in February 2021 would be based on wages earned from October 2019 through September 2020.  All employers for which the claimant worked during that period are charged a proportionate share of benefits paid to the worker. See if you are eligible for relief of benefit charges.

Does Employment Security have staff dedicated to helping business owners?

Yes. We have staff who help employers find employees, manage their tax accounts, and much more. To find out who to contact, visit our employers page.

How long can a former worker collect benefits?

During normal times, claimants can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits. However, when unemployment is high federal and state programs may provide additional weeks of benefits.

Collections FAQ

How do I set up a payment plan?

How do I request a waiver?

Email UIFiles@esd.wa.gov.

  • The subject line should read: Waiver Request [insert your ESD number]
  • The body of the email needs to contain:
    • Business name.
    • ESD number.
    • Request type (waiver).
    • Quarters included in your request.
    • Explanation of why the penalties should be waived.

How do I file an appeal?

Write a letter on your company letterhead requesting an appeal. We need to receive your letter within 30 days of the date on the Order and Notice of Assessment. You can: send your letter to us one of two ways:

ESD - Tax Appeals
PO Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046

How do I file my taxes online?

File online though EAMS. Here is a link to the step by step instructions.

How do I get paper forms?

Send an email to TaxForms@esd.wa.gov and include how many employees you have and the quarters you are filing.

How do I pay online or where do I send a check?

Online: Pay through Employer Account Management Services (EAMS).

To pay via check, review our Tax center contact information page.

What is my tax rate and how is it calculated?

Learn about your tax rates on our Unemployment taxes web page. If you still have questions, call 855-829-9243 and ask to be transferred to the rates unit.

I entered something wrong on my tax report. How do I fix it?

You need to file an amended report. You can either fill out an amendment form or amend the report through EAMS.

How do I request a refund?

You can send your request to us in one of two ways:

  • By email: If you received a credit statement, you can email a signed copy requesting that we refund the credit. Email UIFiles@esd.wa.gov
  • By mail: You can mail your signed refund request to:
    Employment Security Department
    UI Tax & Wage Administration
    PO Box 9046
    Olympia WA 98507-9046

I’m closing my business. What do I need to do?

If your account is active, you are required to submit your quarterly reports, regardless of whether you paid any wages during the quarter.

To close your account, you need to complete a business change form or call the registration unit at 855-829-9243.

If you’re selling and you're authorized to close the account, we can close it over the phone. If you’re not authorized, we’ll send you a business change form so you can request the closure in writing.

We were closed for a period of time. How do I reinstate my business?

If your business has been closed for less than one year, our registration unit can reactivate the account. Call 855-829-9243.

If your account has been closed more than one year, you’ll need to reapply for your business license through the Department of Revenue.

I can’t afford to make my payments. What can I do?

Please call the collections unit at 866-697-4831 or email ESCTAX@esd.wa.gov.

They might be able to set up a payment plan for you.