Layoff assistance for employers

The Employment Security Department (ESD) is able to assist employees and employers when facing major layoffs or temporary situations that require assistance to maintain the workforce during hard times.

The information included here is intended to assist employers.  Information for employees can be found on our Layoff assistance for employees page

  • SharedWork program - SharedWork is a voluntary business sustainability program that provides flexibility to retain employees at reduced hours. 

  • Standby - 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. 

  • Furloughs - 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). 

  • Rapid Response - The federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires each state to establish a rapid response system. In Washington state, that system is overseen by the Employment Security Department (ESD). At the heart of the system are local teams (one in each Workforce Development Area) that quickly assist employers and affected workers after the announcement of a permanent closure, mass layoff or disaster that results in a mass job dislocation. 

  • Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) - The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers to provide workers 60 days' advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff. In general, employers are covered by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act if they have 100 or more employees and are laying off at least one-third of their workforce. The Employment Security Department administers the WARN Act system in Washington. If you wish to be notified about all WARN notices filed with Employment Security, you can sign up for our automated e-mail list. Reporters may call Bill Tarrow at 360-902-9376 with questions about layoffs in Washington. 

  • Dislocated worker - In general, a dislocated worker is an individual who has been laid off, is eligible for unemployment insurance, and is unlikely to return to his or her previous occupation or industry due to foreign competition or technological change. Not all employees affected by a major layoff will be dislocated workers. They might have job skills that are in demand and can return to work in their previous industry or occupation. 

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) - The TAA program is a federal re-employment program established under the Trade Act of 1974. The program helps U.S. workers become re-employed after losing their jobs due to international trade. Certified workers can receive help looking for and relocating to a new job, as well as training for a new occupation.