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Layoff assistance


The Employment Security Department (ESD) can help businesses and workers facing major layoffs, and help prevent layoffs from happening. 

On this page:

• Resources for workers
 Resources for employers

Resources for workers

Has your employer determined a temporary layoff is required?

Get help with your job search

Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services for job seekers, including free help with resumes, interviewing and skills training. Find a WorkSource office near you that provides these services and more.

Unemployment benefits

These benefits are intended to assist workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. While receiving benefits, it’s your responsibility to get back to work as quickly as you can.


Standby waives the job search requirements while workers collect unemployment benefits during the approved standby period.

Partial unemployment

Under certain circumstances, you may work part-time while collecting unemployment benefits.

Dislocated Worker program

You might be eligible for the Dislocated Worker program if:

  • You've lost your job because of a plant closure or layoff;
  • You are dependent on someone else who has lost their job; or
  • You are self-employed, but affected by market changes.

Contact the WorkSource center near you for more information.

Training Benefits program

The Training Benefits program offers additional weeks of unemployment benefits so eligible claimants can train for careers in high-demand fields.  You might be eligible for the Training Benefits program if:

  • You need job-related training;
  • You are eligible for unemployment benefits; and
  • You have exhausted your unemployment benefits.

Call the Training Benefits "hotline" at 877-600-7701, Mon. - Fri., between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Trade Adjustment Assistance

Did or will your company move production or outsource jobs outside the USA? Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) supports laid off workers and downsizing businesses impacted by:

  • Jobs leaving the U.S., or
  • Foreign products or services making it hard to compete.


If you are losing your health coverage or are unemployed, you may be eligible for health plans on Washington Healthplanfinder. Find more information and free help.


Resources for employers


Temporary layoffs

If you think you might need to temporarily lay off some or all of your highly trained employees, you have options to keep from losing them. 

Apply for SharedWork  

SharedWork is a smart alternative to a layoffs. The program allows employers to reduce the hours of full-time employees by as much as 50%, while their workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. All inquiries, applications and use of the program are confidential. 

Temporarily lay off your employee(s) using standby

When you plan to rehire a laid-off employee(s), you may request to place the employee(s) on standby for up to 8 weeks without your employee(s) having to look for work. 

In extraordinary circumstances, you can request to place them on standby for more than 8 weeks.

Partial unemployment

Businesses who need to keep operating on a less-than-full-time basis can request a status known as “Partial” for their employees; work search while on unemployment is waived if employees:

  • Have been hired to work full time.
  • Return to at least one week of full-time employment within a four-month period.
  • Work at least 16 hours per week.


Permanent layoffs

If you have a planned layoff, there are resources to educate and assist your employees. 

If you are permanently closing or laying off a majority of your employees. You should file a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice (WARN) providing workers 60 days advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff. In general, you are covered by the WARN Act if you have 100 or more employees and are laying off at least one-third of your workforce.

Contact your local WorkSource center

WorkSouce will be able to quickly coordinate a team of local experts who can assist your employees in finding their next job, connect them to resources for retraining and other free career coaching services.

Dislocated Worker Program

In the event of a major layoff or plant closure, employees may be able to receive assistance in job search or retraining through the Dislocated Worker Program. Employees typically learn about available services through a company layoff meeting, sometimes referred to as rapid response event, and at their WorkSource

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)

Did or will your company move production outside the USA? Do you supply customers impacted by foreign competition?  Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provides support to laid-off workers and downsizing businesses impacted by;

Jobs leaving the U.S., or

Foreign products or services making it hard to compete. 


Questions about your state unemployment tax account?

For account specific questions, the Account Management Center is available to assist you.  Please call 855-829-9243 or email OlympiaAMC@esd.wa.gov.