Business & Workers

How to file for unemployment benefits

The state Employment Security Department (ESD) recommends workers take the following steps to help ensure their unemployment benefits are filed correctly and start quickly.

Economic Recovery and Resiliency Webinar

New webinar: The Economic Resiliency Team, part of the state Joint Information Center, holds a weekly webinar with key stakeholders in collaboration with the Association of Washington Business. The second webinar in a series is now online, providing news and information to help navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine discuss the state's efforts to help businesses and workers. The first episode is also archived online.

New “The Impact: Road to Recovery” episodes on TVW

TVW has posted two new episodes in its series, “The Impact: Road to Recovery,” which discusses how businesses and workers can navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. All the shows are archived on TVW. Here are the latest episodes:

Closed - Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant

Closed - Governor Inslee has created a Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program using a portion of the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF). A limited number of grants (up to $10,000) are available to small businesses with up to 10 employees.

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."

  • To clarify status, or request inclusion on the list, please fill out this form.
  • If you want to report suspected violations of the governor’s orders regarding essential business functions, evictions, and social distancing, please fill out this form.

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.

CARES Act and Stimulus package

  • Paycheck Protection Program: As of April 16th, 2020, the Small Business Administration is unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding. EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Economic impact payments: What you need to know from the IRS
  • The state Employment Security Department has created a frequently asked questions page with information about the new federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act.
  • Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine has an update for Washington state on the federal stimulus bill - Watch the video on YouTube


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

  • The state Department of Revenue has information on relief for taxpayers, including extensions for filing and paying tax returns.
  • The IRS posted filing and payment deadline Q&As to address the federal filing and payment extension to July 15 and the additional extension to Oct. 15, first quarter estimated tax payments, IRAs and HSAs.
  • IRS information on employee retention tax credit to encourage for eligible employers to keep employees on their payroll.
  • IRS frequently asked questions page on small business tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.
  • The Washington Secretary of State suspended delinquency fees for businesses that have not been able to file their annual report before the deadline of March 31 and April 30. It also suspended the late fee for charitable organizations, charitable trusts, and fundraisers that may have missed their filing deadline.

Worker safety

Workplace safety guidance (pdf) for Workers and Businesses from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. 

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations to help employers keep their workers safe with sick leave policies, cleaning routines and more.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Department of Health, The State Board of Health, and Healthcare Professional Regulatory Boards and Commissions are working to ease some rules to make healthcare capacity and essential services better for the health of all people in Washington.

Other business and worker resources

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

The City of Bellevue has put together a great small business and non-profit resource page. Many of these resources apply to businesses statewide. 

The Department of Commerce has resources for agencies that provide assistance to unsheltered people

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.

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 Questions can be submitted to: 

Information from the Office of Financial Management helping state organizations prepare for and respond to issues and questions 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. 

Planning, preparing and responding to COVID-19