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General FAQ for employers


How can I read and reply to requests for information about my employees who have applied for benefits?

You can access letters and notices we’ve mailed to you and respond to requests for information online using eServices. Find more information about creating your eServices account. You can also respond by mail.

Can someone refuse a job and continue to collect unemployment benefits?

Claimants need to actively pursue suitable work to continue collecting unemployment benefits and must report any job refusal while collecting benefits. Suitable work is defined as work that is consistent with an individual's prior experience, education and training, along with other considerations such as distance of travel to available work. If the refusal was for a suitable job, then benefits may be denied.

Can my employees collect unemployment benefits if I cut back their hours?

Possibly. Workers whose hours are cut may qualify for partial unemployment benefits. The more money the employee earns at work, the greater the reduction from an employee’s weekly benefit amount. Employment Security uses an earning deduction chart to determine a part-time worker’s benefit amount.

Employment Security also offers a program called Shared Work to eligible employers. This program provides an alternative to layoffs by allowing employers to reduce the work hours of their full-time employees, while the workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. Particpating in the Shared Work Program is a voluntary decision made by the employer.

Can a worker quit and still collect unemployment benefits?

In most cases, no.  However, there are 12 limited exceptions to this general rule that constitute “good cause” to quit a job.  They are listed on  page 9 of the Handbook for Unemployed Workers (PDF, 2.9MB). In some cases, the benefits paid to the worker will not be charged directly to the former employer. Rather, the benefits charges will be spread out among all taxable employers.

Why am I being charged benefits for an individual who has not worked for me for almost a year?

A claimant's benefits are usually based on work history during the first four of the previous five completed quarters. For example, a claim filed in February 2011 would be based on wages earned from October 2009, through September 2010. All employers for which the claimant worked during that period are charged a proportionate share of benefits paid to the worker. See if you are eligible for relief of benefit charges.

Does Employment Security have staff dedicated to helping business owners?

Yes. To find out who to contact, visit our Contact information for businesses page.

How long can a former worker collect benefits?

During normal times, claimants can receive benefits of up to 26 weeks of benefits. However, when unemployment is high, there are federal and state programs that may provide additional weeks of benefits. For example, during the last recession, up to 99 weeks of benefits were available to claimants because the emergency unemployment compensation and extended benefits programs were activated. Extended benefits are paid entirely by the federal government and do not affect employers' tax rates. 

Collections FAQ

How do I set up a payment plan?

How do I request a waiver?

Waiver requests have to be in writing, though we encourage you to call us before you request a waiver.

  • Call 855-829-9243 and select option 2.

To request a waiver, email UIFiles@esd.wa.gov.

  • The subject line should read
    • Waiver Request [insert your ESD number]
  • The body of the email needs to contain:
    • Business name
    • ESD number
    • Request type (waiver)
    • Quarters included in your request
    • Explanation of why the penalties should be waived

How do I file an appeal?

Write a letter on your company letterhead requesting an appeal.  We need to receive your letter within 30 days of the date on the Order and Notice of Assessment. You can send your letter to us one of two ways:

Email your letter to uitaxlegalappeals@esd.wa.gov

Mail your letter to:

ESD - Tax Appeals
PO Box 9046
Olympia, WA 98507-9046

How do I file my taxes online?

You need to file online though EAMS. Here is a link to the step by step instructions.

How do I get paper forms?

Send an email to TaxForms@esd.wa.gov and include how many:

  • Quarters you will be filing for, and
  • Employees you have.

How do I pay online or where do I send a check?

Online: Pay through ePay.

To pay via check, review these options:

If you mail your check by certified mail:
ATTN: ESD - Certified
105 14th Ave, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98124-1949

If you mail your check after submitting your report electronically:
ATTN: ESD - Electronic Filing
PO Box 34467
Seattle, WA 98124-1467

If you mail your report and payment by mail:
ATTN: ESD - Paper Wage Reports
PO Box 34729
Seattle, WA 98124-1729

If you mail your past-due report or check:
ATTN: Employment Security Department
PO Box 34949
Seattle, WA 98124-1949

What is my tax rate and how is it calculated?

Learn about your tax rates on our Unemployment taxes web page. If you still have questions, call 855-829-9243 and ask to be transferred to the rates unit.

I entered something wrong on my tax report. How do I fix it?

You need to file an amended report. You can either fill out an amendment form or amend the report through EAMS.

How do I get access to Locked Services in EAMS?

Make this request through EAMS under the “Administrative” menu:

How do I request a refund?

You can send your request to us in one of two ways:

By email: If you received a credit statement, you can email a signed copy requesting that we refund the credit. Email UIFiles@esd.wa.gov

By mail: You can mail your refund request to:
Employment Security Department
UI Tax & Wage Administration
P.O. Box 9046
Olympia WA 98507-9046

I’m closing my business. What do I need to do?

If your account is active, you are required to submit your quarterly reports, regardless of whether you paid any wages during the quarter.

To close your account, you need to complete a business change form or call the registration unit @ 855-829-9243, option 4.

If you’re selling and you’re authorized to close the account, we can close it over the phone. If you’re not authorized, we’ll send you a business change form so you can request the closure in writing.

We were closed for a period of time. How do I reinstate my business?

If your business has been closed for less than one year, our registration unit can reactivate the account. Call 855-829-9243, option 4. If your account has been closed more than one year, you’ll need to reapply for your business license through the Department of Revenue.

I can’t afford to make my payments. What can I do?

Please call the collections unit at 866-697-4831 or email ESCTAX@esd.wa.gov