HR Operations

Information about unemployment benefits

Last updated: May 1, 2024

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is responsible for administering unemployment benefits which partially replace regular wages when you are out of work. Benefits are normally not available if you are terminated for gross misconduct.

Qualifying criteria for WA State unemployment

Under WA state law, you are eligible for benefits if you:

  • Have worked for at least 680 hours in WA during the “base year” (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters) in a position included in WA’s unemployment program.
  • Have worked in WA sometime in the last 18 months (unless you were in the military or worked for the federal government).
  • Have been laid off or fired (unless for gross misconduct).
  • Are looking for work, available for work, and willing to accept an offer of suitable work (except when they are on standby while temporarily laid off).
Student employees and WA State unemployment

Student employees are typically exempt from WA State unemployment under RCW 50.44.040 and UW does not report wage or hour information for student employees to ESD.

Return to top


The amount of the WA state unemployment benefit is determined by ESD and can be estimated using this ESD tool. Individuals eligible for unemployment report any earnings as part of a “weekly claim,” including payments from UW such as wages (including paid time off), which may reduce the weekly benefit amount.

For new unemployment claims filed on or after July 2, 2023, the minimum weekly benefit amount is $323 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,019.

Return to top

How to file for unemployment benefits

To apply for unemployment benefits, follow the application process on ESD Unemployment benefits webpage. Before applying, gather the information you’ll need. Visit the Have this information ready webpage or see page 1 of the Unemployed Worker Handbook to prepare.

Use your payslip to sum the total of your gross wages and to average how many hours you work on a weekly basis. You can enter gross wages per hour, week, month, or year.

When asked to identify your employer:

  • UW employees (including UWMC Montlake, UWMC Northwest, and UW Medicine Primary Care) use Federal tax ID 91-6001537 and Employment Security Reference Number 000990180003
  • Harborview employees use Federal tax ID 91-6001537 and Employment Security Reference Number 000992172009

Return to top

Additional information

Questions about WA’s unemployment compensation, including eligibility, the application process, weekly benefit amounts, earnings deductions, and other topics should be directed to ESD.

For more information about unemployment compensation for UW employees, visit the (FAQs) about unemployment compensation.

Return to top