Furloughed state employees: SharedWork Q&A
Filing the initial application
When should I apply for unemployment benefits?
You can set up your SAW account and use ESD’s eServices to apply for benefits once ESD approves your employer’s SharedWork application. A SharedWork representative from your agency will contact staff about next steps. Open this PowerPoint chart.
I heard the base year changed on July 1. Should I wait to file to get more benefits?
It depends on your situation. If you file during the week of June 28-July 4, the start date of your claim will be 6/28, and your base year will be Jan – Dec 2019. If you file during the week of July 5-11, your claim start date will be July 5, and your base year will be April 2019 – March 2020. To calculate your weekly benefit amount (WBA) we use the two highest paid quarters in your base year. If you did not work much in the first quarter of 2019, your WBA will probably be higher if you file July 5 or later.
If I wait to file my initial application on July 5, 2020, will I miss a benefit and stimulus payment for the week of June 28?
Yes, this is why each person has to evaluate whether it is better for them to wait to file and have a larger WBA (if this is the case – it’s not true for everyone) or file now and get the benefit payment and $600 for the week of 6/28.
If I don’t have 680 hours in my base year as of June 28, 2020, but I will if I file next week, is that OK? Will I qualify for SharedWork?
Yes, if filing next week brings your hours up over 680 you will qualify.
I opened an unemployment claim and was told I do not meet the eligibility requirement of 680 hours. What do I need to do next?
Immediately file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), one of the three programs of the Federal CARES Act. PUA is a separate program to cover many people who not qualify for regular unemployment.
When I enter my gross wage information on the initial application, should it include the 3% raise?
No, we are only interested in your historical income. This will not affect your weekly benefit amount.
When I enter my average hours worked on the initial application, should it be my usual hours or my furlough hours?
Enter your historical regular hours for this employer, not your furlough hours.
What if I already applied and I answered something incorrectly?
Depending on the question, it might not matter. If you made a mistake on the question about attending school, retirement pay, being able and available for work or about unions, you will receive a questionnaire about it in eServices. Complete the questionnaire and indicate that you made a mistake on your application.
What does the question, “What date did you last physically work for your employer” mean?
It means: When did you last get paid to work, either onsite or via telework. If you are working today and filing your application today, you would put today’s date. If you apply on Monday, your last day worked would probably be Friday.
I am outstationed. Do I use my agency's Olympia address on the application?
Yes. After you enter the address, select the "Postal office recognized" address.
Submitting weekly claims
When should I submit my first weekly claim?
You can submit your first weekly claim as early as the Sunday before your first furlough day. For more information about submitting your weekly claim, refer to your SharedWork Employee Participation Packet and the document called, "You Applied for SharedWork. What’s next?" Also, open this PowerPoint chart.
When do I submit each weekly claim?
You submit your weekly claim any time between Sunday and midnight Saturday. For example, if you filed your initial application during the week beginning June 28, 2020, you will submit your first weekly claim on Sunday, July 5.
Should I submit a claim every week, even if it's not a furlough week?
You're not required to submit every week, but it's a good idea. Submit a claim every week keeps your claim open. If you don't report a week, your claim will be closed and you will need to reopen it before you can submit another weekly claim.
How do the "SharedWork payment calculation" and the "employee earnings deduction" charts work for furloughed employees?
The “SharedWork-payment-calculation-chart” is applicable for those staff who are furloughed between 10 and 50 percent of their regularly scheduled work week and are approved for SharedWork.
If staff are on approved SharedWork, but their reduced work hours are less than 10 percent or more than 50 percent, they may still qualify for regular unemployment benefits during these weeks and the weekly benefit amount is calculated using the Employment Security “earnings-deduction-chart.”
I filed my initial application, but I don’t have a link to file my weekly claim.
The weekly claim week will not appear until Sunday. We ask you questions about the entire previous week, which does not end until Saturday. Sunday is the first day you can answer questions about the whole week.
What about the waiting week? I heard I will have one if I don’t file by July 4, 2020.
The Governor has just extended the waiting week waiver through August 1, 2020.
How do I report holiday pay?
If you use eServices, you are asked: "Did you or will you receive paid time off or sick, vacation or holiday pay?" Answer Yes and enter the holiday hours and gross earnings for those hours.
Do I have to do anything to get the $600 a week or is it automatic?
Should I use my gross wages or hourly wage on my weekly claim?
Use you most recent paystub each week. If you are paid bi-weekly, divide the gross wages by 2 to get your weekly pay, or by 80 to get your hourly pay.
If I have a second job, will I still be eligible for benefits?
Possibly. It depends how much you make. Just report your total hours and earnings between all jobs on your weekly claim and SharedWork will calculate your benefit.
If I'm not taking furloughs anymore, but I still haven’t received benefit payments for my previous furlough days, do I need to keep submitting claims to show that I've worked 40 hours in order to keep my claim active until I receive payments?
No. You do not need to keep submitting claims. Once the issue with your account is resolved, payments will go through automatically.
If I'm a victim of unemployment imposter fraud
I'm a victim of unemployment imposter fraud and cannot create or access my eServices account. What do I do?
Don't worry! The Employment Security Department is working on fixing this issue for you. We will contact you about it.
What if my account is locked because of fraud?
If you have reported this to your HR department, ESD will unlock your account by July 9, 2020, so you can file. You will not miss out on any benefits, including the $600 stimulus.
My claim has an alert telling me to file a PUA claim or a PEUC claim. Do I need to do this?
No, not if you are on SharedWork.
Will the benefits I receive on SharedWork affect my available benefits if I am laid off later?
Yes, but not very much, since you will be drawing only about one-fifth of your weekly benefit amount, and later, only one-fifth of your weekly benefit amount one week a month. The amount you claim during your participation in SharedWork will reduce your maximum benefits payable (MBP) by that amount for your claim year.
If I make too much money, will I be disqualified from SharedWork?
No, SharedWork eligibility is determined by whether or not you have 680 hours in your base year. It is not based on income.
Will there be webinars for furloughed state employees, showing them how to apply?
Yes. Go to the Webinars page for a full list and registration links.
I’m a non-permanent employee, which means I’m not eligible to participate in the SharedWork Program. Am I eligible for regular unemployment benefits?
Maybe. Non-permanent employees who are furloughed can apply for regular unemployment benefits. However, most workers who are furloughed for one day a week will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits because their weekly salary is still too high. We recommend employees still apply; that’s the best way to find out if you’re eligible for benefits.
Are state employees who take voluntary furloughs eligible for SharedWork and unemployment benefits?
Yes. They are treated the same as mandatory furloughs.
Lost Wages Assistance program
Are furloughed state employees on the SharedWork program eligible for the $300 weekly benefit from the Lost Wages Assistance program?
It depends. The LWA program currently applies only to claimants receiving benefits from July 26 to Sept. 5, 2020. So, if state employees’ furlough days occurred during those weeks, then they would retroactively receive the $300 extra weekly benefit for those weeks only, as long as the federal funds are available. If a furlough day fell during only one of those weeks, for example, state employees would receive the $300 for only that week. Read more about the LWA program.
I have not received the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) message in eServices. What should I do?
If you do not see the LWA message in your eServices account by Friday, Sept. 11, contact your agency SharedWork representative. Give your full name and last four digits of your Social Security number. Your SharedWork representative will ask ESD to add the eligibility question to your eServices account. (Background: Some users were affected by a system error that told claimants they were not eligible for LWA before they answered the eligibility question. This issue has been resolved.)
How do I answer the eligibility question for LWA if I submit my weekly claims on paper instead of online?
The easiest and fastest way to answer the eligibility for LWA benefits is through eServices. If you don’t have an eServices account, ESD will send you a letter with instructions on how to answer the eligibility question by phone. Call that number and an agent will help you.
I answered "No" to the eligibility question but I should have answered "Yes." How do I correct my mistake?
State employees who are on furlough and receiving unemployment benefits are eligible for LWA. If you answered in error, saying you have not been affected by COVID, call the SharedWork Unit at 800-752-2500, menu option 4. SharedWork staff will make the correction. If you can't reach the SharedWork Unit due to heavy call volumes, give your full name and last four digits of your Social Security number to your agency SharedWork representative, who will ask ESD to make the correction.