Affected by COVID-19?

The federal stimulus bill that extends CARES Act unemployment benefits was signed into law. Visit the COVID-19 page for the latest information. Please try not to call our Unemployment Claims Center with questions as call volume remains very high.

Return to work

(en español)


As the economy reopens in phases during the COVID-19 crisis, the Employment Security Department and its workforce partners are supporting workers and businesses with continued unemployment and re-employment services. This Return to Work page provides a range of resources including information on job and training opportunities for workers and resources to maintain a skilled workforce for employers, as well as information on unemployment benefit eligibility, conducting work search activities, offers to return to work and more 

On this page:  Information for employers  |  Information for workers

Information for employers

Maintain a skilled workforce


Avoid layoffs and re-open your business with SharedWork

SharedWork allows employers to reduce hours by as much as 50 percent, while their employees collect partial benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. This is a great way to avoid layoffs, retain staff and save your business money while the economy reopens. 

Has an employee turned down your offer of work?
Are you ready to bring back employees but the work was turned down? Report refusals of suitable work and learn more.

Notifying your employees about returning to work
The state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) manages guidance around how much notice an employer should give their standby employees, when asking them to return to work. Visit L&I's website for more information.

Your business and COVID-19
If you are looking for updates on how COVID-19 has impacted unemployment insurance, quarterly reporting, and more, please see our Q&A for businesses.


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Information for workers

 Job seeking during the COVID-19 crisis

  • Under normal circumstances, you are required to look for work and document your job search in order to remain eligible for unemployment benefits. The Governor, with support from the Legislature, suspended this requirement on March 8, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Job search requirements are currently suspended until the Pandemic State of Emergency is lifted. You may answer "no" to the job search questions on your weekly claim.
  • While job search requirements may be suspended further, they will ultimately be reinstated as the economy opens up. We recognize both the challenging economic conditions and difficult circumstances people face given the nature of the COVID-19 crisis. We are updating our list of acceptable job-search activities and are committed to helping you understand job-search requirements, before we require that you again report them in your weekly claim. 

Were you called back to work but can’t return?
If you are currently receiving benefits from Employment Security and cannot go back to work when called to do so (either back to an old job or to a new job), we can help you figure out your options. Find out more about when you can turn down an opportunity to return to work


Finding your next job

WorkSource is here to help

  • Find the right job opportunity at WorkSource Washington.  Due to the crisis, WorkSource offices statewide are currently closed for in-person services, but you can still get help by calling your local office or asking questions through live chat. Go to for more information.
  • Further explore jobs and training opportunities offered through the WorkSource System.
  • Refine your skills to land a job see WorkSourceWA upcoming workshops in your area.
  • To secure the right job, attend a hiring event.

Job retraining or educational opportunities

Learn more about industries that are hiring

  • See our Supply/Demand Report for a gap analysis of occupations along with comparisons of monthly online job postings and Employment Security Department data on unemployment insurance (UI) claimants.
  • Visit our Jobs and training page for additional job search information. 


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