Business

Guidance and resources for employers and business owners.

Good to Know

Read about the Safe Start plan, county-by-county progress, and industry-specific safety guidance.
Sign up for the weekly business and worker newsletter.
Ask about Safe Start plans, worker safety, unemployment, sick leave, and more. You may also file a complaint against a business. (LINK)
TVW has launched a new series called “Impact: Road to Recovery” to talk about how businesses and workers can navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safe Start plans and guidance for reopening

On May 29, Gov. Jay Inslee released an updated, county-by-county based “Safe Start” reopening plan for resuming recreational, social and business activities.

Businesses are not authorized to open until that business is able to meet all safety criteria. As counties and industries reopen under the “Safe Start” plan, business and worker guidance will be posted to the Governor’s website.

Resources from State Agencies

Department of Labor and Industries (L&I)

L&I is for workplace safety and rights for workers. They will also serve as an enforcement arm of Safe Start restrictions.

Employment Security Department (ESD)

ESD is offering relief to affected workers and information to businesses statewide that may help them employ and retain their workers.

Department of Health (DOH)

DOH is a primary source for data on the coronavirus and guidance to slow the spread, as well as additional information for employers, non-profits, service providers and others.

Supporting affected employers and workers

State agencies have been working with federal agencies, employers and workers to support businesses and workers affected by COVID-19. 

Workplace Safety Guidance

Guidance for keeping you and your workers safe.

Essential businesses

Businesses that can operate using telework should continue to do so. For businesses where individuals cannot work from home, the Governor’s Office has provided guidance on what businesses are essential, building on the federal government’s and California’s definition of "essential critical infrastructure workers."

Clarify or request status as an essential business, or report Safe Start plan violations.

Business Response Center

Business owners and operators who have questions about financial assistance, return to work and other general inquiries can use our General Business and Return to Work Inquiry form to ask our Business Response Center team for answers. First, visit the frequently asked questions for businesses page to see if your question or concern is already addressed. If you're unable to find an answer, please submit your question through our form.

CARES Act and Stimulus package

Paid Leave

  • Information from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding paid Leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • The Employment Security Department has information for workers and employers impacted by COVID-19.
  • The Washington state Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program is funded by employers and employees. This program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks, as needed, when they welcome a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative and for certain military-connected events.

Taxes and fees

  • Information from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding paid Leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • The Employment Security Department has information for workers and employers impacted by COVID-19.
  • The Washington state Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program is funded by employers and employees. This program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks, as needed, when they welcome a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative and for certain military-connected events.

Insurance information for businesses

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has information about insurance coverage businesses need to protect themselves from potential losses.

Guidance from OIC for businesses about keeping employees on their health insurance plans.

For information employers can share with employees about the health insurance options available through Washington Healthplanfinder (includes free and low cost options for those who will be losing or have recently lost their employer sponsored coverage), please visit the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Coronavirus FAQ Page.

Small businesses and non-profits

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and has been mentoring small business owners for more than forty years. SCORE offers small business entrepreneurs confidential business counseling services at no charge. SCORE provides resources, templates and tools to assist entrepreneurs in developing tools and plans they need to navigate their way to small business success.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The Washington Small Business Development Center COVID-19 related information and resources.

Washington State Business Assistance

Visit business.wa.gov to learn about resources available for your business.

Guidance for state agencies and local governments

  • Washington State Emergency Management Division has activated the Public Assistance (PA) Program to initiate the recovery process for the COVID–19 Pandemic Outbreak. This is specifically for state and local governments, tribal governments and to certain non-profits seeking federal assistance in response to COVID-19. Please visit https://mil.wa.gov/public-assistance. Questions can be submitted to: Assist.Public@mil.wa.gov  
  • The state’s Office of Financial Management has HR information for state agencies about how to prepare for and manage various workplace changes and issues related to COVID-19.
  • Department of Enterprise Services manages many business and operational services that state agencies and municipal governments need to deliver public services. Their centralized services include facilities and lease management, accounting, human resources, risk management, contracting and printing.  

Resources for local governments

Cities and counties are the places we live and the governments closest to people. They are taking extraordinary measures to protect their residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. This web page supports those efforts by providing information about federal and state funds as they become available to local programs to provide assistance for families, businesses and communities.

Planning, preparing and responding to COVID-19

FAQs

On March 18, the governor called on all public utilities in Washington to suspend disconnection tariffs for nonpayment during this emergency. He also ordered them to waive late fees for customers who are out of work or offer customers payment plans and expand bill-assistance programs for customers who are economically affected by this emergency. Learn more on the governor’s Medium account.

Check with your county treasurer's office about potential property tax deadline changes for your county. You can find COVID-19 information and links to county governments on the Washington Association of County Officials website.

Find out more information about available resources. This information is changing rapidly, so check back frequently, as we will add new resources regularly.

Final paychecks must be paid on or before the next regularly scheduled payday. Employers cannot withhold a final paycheck if the employee does not turn in keys, uniforms, tools, equipment, etc. There are specific rules for deductions taken from a final paycheck.

Severance, personal holidays and vacation time are voluntary benefits. Employers can choose to pay out these benefits on a final paycheck. If your employees believe they are owed any of these agreed-upon benefits, they can contact an attorney or file in small claims court.

Employers must follow separate requirements for paid sick leave balances.
We encourage you to learn about resources available to help keep your business open.