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Relief of benefit charges

Relief of benefit charges applies only to taxable, non-local government employers.  When an employer is granted “relief of benefit charges,” benefits paid to the employer’s former worker are not factored in to the employer’s tax rate.

You may qualify to have the benefit charges removed (which we call "relief of benefit charges") if your employee's separation is due to one of the following reasons:

  • They voluntarily quit, and you did not cause the quit.
  • They were discharged for misconduct or gross misconduct connected with the work.
  • They were laid off as a direct result of a catastrophe, such as fire, flood or other natural disaster.
  • They continue working for you on a regularly scheduled, permanent, part-time basis, but are no longer employed by another base-year employer they worked for while also working for you.
  • They continue working for you on a permanent, part-time basis and the worker qualifies for two consecutive unemployment claims.
  • They were laid off after being hired to replace a activated military reserve or guard member when the military person is deactivated and returns to work.
  • Your business had to close or curtail operations due to a COVID-19 infection at the workplace.
  • They were directed by a medical professional to be isolated or quarantined to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if they were not actually diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You discharged the individual because they were unable to satisfy a job prerequisite required by law or administrative rule RCW 50.29.021(3)(a)(viii).

How to request relief of benefit charges

You must submit your request in writing and include the Benefit Charging Notice (sample-PDF) form along with supporting documentation (e.g., resignation letter).

You can send it online, by fax, or mail.

Online: You can submit your relief of charges online using eServices. In the Client Account view, select the Issues tab then the “Relief of charges” link.

Fax: 800-301-1796

ESD—Experience Rating/Benefit Charging Unit
PO Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046

We need to get your request no later than 30 days after we first mailed your Benefit Charging Notice.

We’re offering some leniency for requests received after the 30-day period.

  • Employers must establish good cause for not sending their request on time.
  • Through emergency rules, we’ve added to the list of reasons that qualify as good cause.
  • Good cause now includes delays due to COVID-19.