Layoff assistance

The Employment Security Department (ESD) can:

  • Help businesses and workers facing major layoffs, and
  • Help prevent layoffs from happening. 

Information for...

Employees button

What resources are available to me?

  • 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

Has your employer determined a temporary layoff is required?

  • 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.

Have you lost your job because of a plant closure or layoff? Are you dependent on someone else who has lost their job? Are you self-employed, but affected by market changes?

Do you need job-related training? Are you eligible for unemployment benefits? Have you exhausted your unemployment benefits?

  • The Training Benefits program offers additional weeks of unemployment benefits so eligible claimants can train for careers in high-demand fields. Should you have questions with regards to training benefits, select the link above or call the Training Benefits hotline at 877-600-7701, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

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.

  The benefits provided by TAA are substantial.

Employers button

I might need to temporarily lay off some or all my employees.  What are my options?  How do I keep from losing my highly trained employees?

  • 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 percent, while their workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. Apply for SharedWork. All inquiries, applications and use of the program are confidential. 
  • Temporarily lay off your employee(s).  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.

  • 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.

I have a planned layoff.  How can I educate my employees who are being permanently laid off?  How can I offer assistance to my employees?

  • Contact your local WorkSource.  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.
  • 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
  • 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. 
  • 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.

  • Do you have questions regarding your state unemployment tax account?

    The ESD Employer Tax Handbook is filled with information to help employers understand and comply with Washington State Unemployment Insurance laws.  

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