Federal programs ended

The CARES Act and other federal programs that expanded and extended unemployment benefits expired the week ending Sept. 4, 2021. Visit the COVID-19 page to learn more

Temporary layoffs, standby and furloughs

 (en español)

IMPORTANT: The job search requirement is back. Visit the Job search requirements page for more information.



In the event of a temporary layoff when the employer plans to rehire a laid off employee (or group of employees), we may approve a request to place the worker or group of workers on standby. Standby waives the job search requirements while workers are collecting unemployment benefits during the approved standby period.

To qualify for standby, the worker must:

  • Have been full- or part-time employees; and
  • Be returning to full- or part-time work with their regular employer; and
  • Have a probable return-to-work date. Workers cannot exceed a total of eight weeks of standby on a claim.


To request standby:

Workers who have a probable return-to-work date with a current employer within four weeks (28 days) can request standby approval for up to four weeks. Workers starting a new job with a new employer may also request standby within two weeks of an expected start date.  In eServices, click on your current UI claim and look under "I want to."

Employers can request standby for employees with a probable return-to-work date within eight weeks (56 days) of the date of the request. Employers should request standby using the "Request for Separation Information" form we send when a worker has applied for unemployment benefits. Or you can request standby for individual employees through your eServices account. 

Our decision:

Workers and employers will receive a standby decision in the mail.

  • If approved, it starts with the date we receive the request.
  • If denied, the requester can appeal our decision.
    • Remember: Denial of standby does not mean you are denied unemployment benefits. Standby only waives the job search requirement to be eligible for benefits. 


Furloughs are a form of temporary layoff that may consist of a complete stoppage of work or reduced work hours over a period of time (for example, a reduction of one day a week for a year).

Since unemployment benefits are determined on a weekly basis, full-time workers whose hours of work are reduced by one work day each week usually will not be eligible for partial unemployment benefits because they earn too much in the week to be eligible.

If you are placed on furlough, you may apply for unemployment benefits and we will determine if you are eligible. Sign-in to eServices or create an account.


Employers: Avoid layoffs with SharedWork!

Check out Washington's SharedWork Program - it helps businesses and employers avoid layoffs by paying employees partial unemployment benefits when their work hours are reduced. 


More information for employers

Notice to base year employer | What we need from you | How we decide on worker benefits | Appeal an unemployment tax decision | Employer FAQs - benefit claims process | Employer FAQs - general | Contact information for employers