Unemployment Benefit Charges and Charge Relief

Earlier this week, ESD sent (or will send) letters to businesses along with their quarterly statement of benefit charges. This statement might bring on some anxiety with the highest unemployment rates in over 80 years. However, this letter addresses some employer concerns about what impact it will have on their UI tax rates. You can view a copy of the letter here.

Imposter Fraud concerns:

Some businesses are wondering if the unemployment imposter fraud might impact their experience rates or benefit charges. (Unquestionably, the answer is no.)

Other good news from the Employment Security Department:

In May, the Legislature allocated $25M towards relief of benefit charges for businesses from the state COVID-19 relief fund. Specifically, this means businesses can apply to offset some of their quarter one and two benefit charges. This is instead of charging them to their experience rating. If approved, the application could lower their the offset in the 2021 tax rate.

What qualifies?

You may qualify for this relief of charges if unemployment benefits were paid in the first two quarters of 2020 to your employees who were temporarily laid off because of COVID-19, but returned to work for you after the layoff.

How to apply?

ESD is finalizing the application, but meanwhile, visit https://esd.wa.gov/employer-taxes. Until the applications are ready, you’ll still find info, including a list of what you’ll need to apply.