COVID-19: Expanded Benefits for Workers.

As a worker during these uncertain times, it may be difficult to know where to find answers. Thankfully, the Washington State Employment Security Department provides workforce solutions in efforts to promote economic reliance. In light of COVID-19, additional resources have become available.  If you are a worker that has been affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus), Employment Security may be able to help.

The Employment Security Department has expanded benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. ​

For additional information on who qualifies, please follow this prompt.

The Washington State Employment Security Department may be able to assist with answering questions related to:

  • Benefits for employees directed to isolate or quarantine
  • Temporary layoffs related to COVID-19
  • Job loss related to COVID-19

The Q&A below provides answers to many of the frequently asked questions we are receiving about qualifying for unemployment benefits. 

  1. What if I need to take time off work because I contract COVID-19? 
    A.  The first and best option for employees who need to miss work due to illness is to use their employer-paid time off. Labor and Industries has information about Paid Sick Leave. When this leave is not available, Paid Family & Medical Leave may be available to help.
  2. What if I am asked by a medical professional or public health official to quarantine as a result of COVID-19, but I am not sick?
    If you are following guidance issued by a medical professional or public health official to isolate or quarantine yourself as a result of exposure to COVID-19 and you are not receiving paid sick leave from your employer, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Eligibility decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. If you know you can return to your job as soon as your isolation or quarantine is lifted, you may not need to search for work. You must able to accept any work offered by your employer that would not cause you to break isolation or quarantine.
  3. What should I do if I contract COVID-19 on the job?
    See information from the Dept. of Labor and Industries information on Workers’ Compensation.
  4. What is a request to isolate or quarantine?
  5. A request to isolate or quarantine is:
    • A letter documenting a voluntary request or involuntary order to isolate or quarantine from a medical professional, local health official, or the Secretary of Health.
    • A note from your medical provider or medical records office recommending isolation or quarantine.
    • A self-determination that Department of Health’s quarantine guidance applies to you.

For more information please follow this prompt: For workers affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus).


Legal Disclaimer:

The information on this page does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as each situation is fact specific and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. The information on this page is solely for the purpose of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matters stated therein. The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area of the matters stated therein. No attorney-client relationship is formed without an actual agreement confirmed in writing. We have attorneys licensed in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona.