COVID-19 & Washington Updates

By July 6, 2020August 7th, 2020COVID-19

Washington’s Employment Security Department provided the below updates regarding their unemployment program. Please review information as it pertains to returning to work and job refusals, extending job search requirements and standby details, handling layoffs, reporting reminders, and reviewing fraud and overpayment notices.

Returning to Work & Job Refusals:

The state launched two website pages to share information about returning to work and refusing an offer of work to help employers and their associates navigate the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

  • The Refusal of Work page provides information about when someone can or cannot refuse an offer of work and retain unemployment benefits.
  • The state created a new, online reporting form for employers to report job refusals. Employers can access the form in eServices. Employers can use this web page for a walk-through.
  • The Return to Work page provides information and links to resources to maintain a skilled workforce, avoid layoffs, and other important information.

Job Search Extension & Standby:

The state extended the job search requirements for individuals through August 1, 2020. While the state encourages individuals to continue looking for work, they do not need to report job searches yet.

Therefore, the state notes that there is no need to request standby for associates, as standby only waives the job search requirements temporarily while associates receive unemployment benefits. The state will provide employers with more information about standby before the job search requirements are officially reinstated.

Learn more about job search requirements on the state’s website.

 

Handling Layoffs:

The state also encourages employers to check out the SharedWork program. This program is a great option for employers who wish to avoid layoffs during COVID-19. More information can be found on the state’s website at esd.wa.gov/SharedWork.

Quarterly Reporting:

Quarterly reporting for both Unemployment Insurance and Paid Family and Medical Leave started July 1, 2020 and will end on July 31, 2020. The state notes that, while it is still important to file on time, they will be more lenient with employers who cannot file on time because of COVID-19. The state will waive penalties for late responses as a result of the crisis. Employers can learn more here.

Fraud & Overpayment Notices:

Individuals who are victims of recent fraud occurrences may have received overpayment notices from the state. The state requests that employers advise their associates that they do not owe the state any money as a result of the fraudulent claim if they received this notice. More information on overpayments can be found on the state’s website.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at http://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

 

 

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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