Unemployment Benefits for Eligible Workers.
The unemployment insurance (UI) system, administered by the Employment Security Department (ESD), is designed to provide partial wage replacement for unemployed workers. Unemployed workers receive benefits based on their earnings in their base year for up to 26 weeks. Benefits are financed through unemployment taxes paid by employers. A worker is eligible for benefits if he or she:
A worker is generally considered "unemployed" in any week where he or she does not provide any services and therefore no amounts are payable to him or her, or where he or she provides less than full time work if the amounts payable to him or her are less than one and one-third times his or her weekly benefit amount plus $5.
Unemployment Benefits for Officers of Corporations.
Officers of corporations formed under the Washington Business Corporation Act are automatically exempt from UI unless the corporation specifically opts to cover them. A corporation not opting to provide coverage must give written notice to its officers that they are ineligible for benefits. Other types of corporations formed under different statutes are not affected by the exemption and are covered by UI, subject to other restrictions.
An officer who owns, or whose family member owns, 10 percent or more of the outstanding stock of the corporation is generally not considered to be "unemployed" even when he or she is not receiving amounts for services. However, the officer is "unemployed" in a given week if:
Employee Cooperatives and Associations.
State laws allow corporations or associations to be governed by cooperatives in some instances. This includes, for example:
Acts performed as an officer of an employee cooperative corporation, cooperative association, or limited cooperative association do not constitute services for the purposes of determining whether a person is unemployed and therefore eligible for UI.
An officer of an employee cooperative corporation, cooperative association, or limited cooperative association is exempt from the restriction against collecting UI by officers who are stockholders or family members' of stockholders, thereby allowing those persons to collect UI benefits if eligible under the general provisions governing unemployed workers.