Urgent action needed:

Ask your legislators to support HB 1486 unemployment benefits for caregivers!

This week, the House of Representatives is considering an important bill for caregivers in Washington state: HB 1486, which would add a good-cause quit for workers who face a caregiving inaccessibility problem, either because of scheduling changes by their employer or other factors outside the caregiver’s control.  Please ask your legislators today to vote for this bill.

The problem of caregiving inaccessibility created by a job that the caregiver needs to support their family has grown worse every year. Here is how HB 1486 would bring some relief:

  • Some 350,000 workers in Washington must provide unpaid care to a family member, such as an elderly parent, while working a paying job. Hundreds of thousands of working parents also often find that affordable child care has become unavailable.
  • HB 1486 modifies unemployment benefits so that working people can still be covered if their employer changes their schedule or if other circumstances make child care or other family caregiving inaccessible.
  • HB 1486 will fix an unusually harsh unemployment insurance law that Washington passed two decades ago, and that often forces workers to choose between their caregiving responsibilities and their job.
  • Benefits help unemployed workers find a new job that will work for their caregiving responsibilities. Parents, caregivers, and families across Washington need this simple and common sense fix so that if they experience job loss, they know they will have basic income support so they can find another job and remain in the workforce.

ULP is joined by the Washington State Labor Council, MomsRising, and unions and worker advocates across the state in supporting HB 1486. Please urge your state representatives to vote for HB1486 and show that they stand with Washington families and workers.

For contact information on your state House and Senate members, go to https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ and simply enter your address. They urgently need to know that Washington workers and families are counting on their support for working caregivers.

Claimant Alert: Job search requirement reinstated starting July 4, 2021

Photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels

June 10, 2021

Following a 15-month suspension of the requirement to search for jobs while receiving benefits, unemployment benefits claimants will once again need to conduct job searches starting July 4, the Employment Security Department (ESD) announced yesterday. (See https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/job-search at ESD’s website.)

In response to the pandemic, Governor Inslee and the legislature agreed to stop enforcing the job search requirement in March 2020. Now, from July 4 forward, claimants will be required to conduct three job search activities and report on them each week they claim benefits. Complying with the requirement is essential because you must demonstrate you are available for and actively seeking a job in order to receive benefits. If claimants are not aware of this or do not comply, it can lead to overpayments.

When you file for benefits as of July 11, you will be asked to specifically name and document the contacts you made or activities you conducted each week. This is a stricter enforcement of the job search requirement than in the past, when claimants just needed to certify that they had contacted three potential employers to inquire about a job and to keep a job search log that ESD could review upon request.

ESD has launched a campaign on multiple fronts to inform claimants of the reinstated job search requirement and what they need to do to comply with it. The agency plans to send several messages and reminders to individual claimants, publicize the change on social media, post FAQs on the website, and conduct other outreach. 

The list of acceptable job search activities has expanded to include such things as: attending a resume workshop, watching a Youtube video on job searches, writing a 30-second speech to introduce yourself and your skills to an employer, participating in a job fair, setting up an account on Indeed or LinkedIn and uploading your resume to it, and much more. The full list is on ESD’s website at https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/job-search-requirements.