Employers eligible for incentive to avoid layoffs

A new Employment Security Department program offers a layoff-avoidance incentives to Washington employers.

The program allows them to participate through June 2015 with little effect on their unemployment taxes.

Since 1983, Washington’s Shared-Work Program has allowed employers to temporarily reduce the hours of their workers, and the employees can claim partial unemployment benefits to help bridge the difference.

The federal government will reimburse the state 100 percent for shared-work benefits paid from July through September 2012. Because of the federal sequester, the reimbursement is 94.9 percent for benefits paid since October 2012.

The legislature adopted two key changes to qualify the state for the reimbursement. Now participating employers must have two or more employees and part-time employees can enroll.

As before, both private-sector and public-sector employers can participate,  employee’s hours must be cut by at least 10 percent but no more than 50 percent to be eligible for shared-work benefits, and an employer can enroll as many or as few employees as it wants.

For more information visit at or call 800-752-2500.


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