I Plan To Cut Back The Hours Available To My Employees. Will They Be Able To Collect Unemployment Benefits?

Yes, under certain circumstances. If the employee continues working after the cut in hours, he or she may qualify for partial unemployment benefits. The Employment Security Departmentwill reduce the amount payable to the employee based on the amount the employee is still earning at work. The more the employee earns at work, the higher the reduction in unemployment benefits.

An eligible employer may participate in a program offered by the Washington Employment Security Department called Shared-Work. The Shared-Work program is available to provide an alternative to layoffs by allowing eligible employers to reduce the work hours of their full-time employees, while the workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.

If the employee’s hours or pay is being cut by 25 percent or more, then the employee can voluntarily quit for that reason and he or she will still be entitled to unemployment benefits.

Nicole M. Bolan, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.

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