State eligible for federal layoff-avoidance incentive

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Washington employers are now eligible to participate in a state layoff-avoidance program through June 2015 with virtually no effect on their unemployment taxes. Until now, Washington's Shared-Work Program has allowed employers to temporarily reduce the hours of their workers, with the employees claiming partial unemployment benefits to help bridge the difference.

In 2012, Congress passed its own incentive of having the federal government cover most of the cost of shared-work benefits for three years, from July 2012 through June 2015. This year, Washington's Legislature adopted minor changes in state law to make Washington employers eligible for the federal incentive.

Under the state changes, participating employers must have two or more employees, rather than just one, and employers can now enroll part-time employees. More information is available from the Employment Security Department at www.esd.wa.gov (enter Shared Work in the search box and select the first option) or by calling 800-752-2500.