At the beginning of the 2021 Legislative season, Governor Jay Inslee introduced SB 5061. Upon the second reading, the bill was revised to ESSB 5061. On February 8th, it was announced that Governor Inslee signed bill ESSB 5061 and it is passed, effective February 8th.

The bill outlines numerous changes because of COVID-19 and CARES Act Legislation. Most notably, employers should consider high-risk employees eligible for benefits.

Additionally, it is determined that “For claims with an effective date of July 1, 2021, or after, the minimum amount payable weekly shall be 20 percent of the average weekly wage.’”  (Sec 13. (b.)(ii.)) The average weekly wage in 2019 was $1,340, making the minimum weekly benefit change from $201 to $268 (https://esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/facts-and-figures-report).  It further notes that as of January 2, 2022, a claimant will not receive a weekly benefit amount that exceeds the individual’s annualized total wage divided by 52.

The piece most influential to employers is that this bill will grant unconditional relief to taxable employers of all COVID-19 Claim charges. Despite National trends, the State of Washington had not considered relieving taxable employer accounts of charges prior to this bill. It notes that taxable employers will see relief from benefits paid between March 28th and May 30th of 2020. It is also qualified that taxable employers will not be charged for benefits if the claimants’ benefits are in any way funded by the federal government.

Unemployment tax details are also amended in this bill.

For the full bill text: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/5061-S.E.pdf?q=20210203094514

For the Governor’s announcement: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-signs-bipartisan-bill-to-support-business-and-workers-d550a3a52551

Please contact your CCC Account Executive if you have any additional questions, comments, and concerns.


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