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50.20.044  <<  50.20.050 >>   50.20.060

RCW 50.20.050

Disqualification for leaving work voluntarily without good cause (as amended by 2009 c 247).

(1) With respect to claims that have an effective date before January 4, 2004:

     (a) An individual shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she has left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has obtained bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount.

     The disqualification shall continue if the work obtained is a mere sham to qualify for benefits and is not bona fide work. In determining whether work is of a bona fide nature, the commissioner shall consider factors including but not limited to the following:

     (i) The duration of the work;

     (ii) The extent of direction and control by the employer over the work; and

     (iii) The level of skill required for the work in light of the individual's training and experience.

     (b) An individual shall not be considered to have left work voluntarily without good cause when:

     (i) He or she has left work to accept a bona fide offer of bona fide work as described in (a) of this subsection;

     (ii) The separation was because of the illness or disability of the claimant or the death, illness, or disability of a member of the claimant's immediate family if the claimant took all reasonable precautions, in accordance with any regulations that the commissioner may prescribe, to protect his or her employment status by having promptly notified the employer of the reason for the absence and by having promptly requested reemployment when again able to assume employment: PROVIDED, That these precautions need not have been taken when they would have been a futile act, including those instances when the futility of the act was a result of a recognized labor/management dispatch system;

     (iii) He or she has left work to relocate for the spouse's employment that is due to an employer-initiated mandatory transfer that is outside the existing labor market area if the claimant remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move; or

     (iv) The separation was necessary to protect the claimant or the claimant's immediate family members from domestic violence, as defined in RCW 26.50.010, or stalking, as defined in RCW 9A.46.110.

     (c) In determining under this subsection whether an individual has left work voluntarily without good cause, the commissioner shall only consider work-connected factors such as the degree of risk involved to the individual's health, safety, and morals, the individual's physical fitness for the work, the individual's ability to perform the work, and such other work connected factors as the commissioner may deem pertinent, including state and national emergencies. Good cause shall not be established for voluntarily leaving work because of its distance from an individual's residence where the distance was known to the individual at the time he or she accepted the employment and where, in the judgment of the department, the distance is customarily traveled by workers in the individual's job classification and labor market, nor because of any other significant work factor which was generally known and present at the time he or she accepted employment, unless the related circumstances have so changed as to amount to a substantial involuntary deterioration of the work factor or unless the commissioner determines that other related circumstances would work an unreasonable hardship on the individual were he or she required to continue in the employment.

     (d) Subsection (1)(a) and (c) of this section shall not apply to an individual whose marital status or domestic responsibilities cause him or her to leave employment. Such an individual shall not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she left work and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has requalified, either by obtaining bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earning wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount or by reporting in person to the department during ten different calendar weeks and certifying on each occasion that he or she is ready, able, and willing to immediately accept any suitable work which may be offered, is actively seeking work pursuant to customary trade practices, and is utilizing such employment counseling and placement services as are available through the department. This subsection does not apply to individuals covered by (b)(ii) or (iii) of this subsection.

     (2) With respect to claims that have an effective date on or after January 4, 2004:

     (a) An individual shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she has left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has obtained bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount.

     The disqualification shall continue if the work obtained is a mere sham to qualify for benefits and is not bona fide work. In determining whether work is of a bona fide nature, the commissioner shall consider factors including but not limited to the following:

     (i) The duration of the work;

     (ii) The extent of direction and control by the employer over the work; and

     (iii) The level of skill required for the work in light of the individual's training and experience.

     (b) An individual is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection when:

     (i) He or she has left work to accept a bona fide offer of bona fide work as described in (a) of this subsection;

     (ii) The separation was necessary because of the illness or disability of the claimant or the death, illness, or disability of a member of the claimant's immediate family if:

     (A) The claimant pursued all reasonable alternatives to preserve his or her employment status by requesting a leave of absence, by having promptly notified the employer of the reason for the absence, and by having promptly requested reemployment when again able to assume employment. These alternatives need not be pursued, however, when they would have been a futile act, including those instances when the futility of the act was a result of a recognized labor/management dispatch system; and

     (B) The claimant terminated his or her employment status, and is not entitled to be reinstated to the same position or a comparable or similar position;

     (iii)(A) With respect to claims that have an effective date before July 2, 2006, he or she: (I) Left work to relocate for the spouse's employment that, due to a mandatory military transfer: (1) Is outside the existing labor market area; and (2) is in Washington or another state that, pursuant to statute, does not consider such an individual to have left work voluntarily without good cause; and (II) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

     (B) With respect to claims that have an effective date on or after July 2, 2006, he or she: (I) Left work to relocate for the spouse's employment that, due to a mandatory military transfer, is outside the existing labor market area; and (II) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

     (iv) The separation was necessary to protect the claimant or the claimant's immediate family members from domestic violence, as defined in RCW 26.50.010, or stalking, as defined in RCW 9A.46.110;

     (v) The individual's usual compensation was reduced by twenty-five percent or more;

     (vi) The individual's usual hours were reduced by twenty-five percent or more;

     (vii) The individual's worksite changed, such change caused a material increase in distance or difficulty of travel, and, after the change, the commute was greater than is customary for workers in the individual's job classification and labor market;

     (viii) The individual's worksite safety deteriorated, the individual reported such safety deterioration to the employer, and the employer failed to correct the hazards within a reasonable period of time;

     (ix) The individual left work because of illegal activities in the individual's worksite, the individual reported such activities to the employer, and the employer failed to end such activities within a reasonable period of time;

     (x) The individual's usual work was changed to work that violates the individual's religious convictions or sincere moral beliefs; or

     (xi) The individual left work to enter an apprenticeship program approved by the Washington state apprenticeship training council. Benefits are payable beginning Sunday of the week prior to the week in which the individual begins active participation in the apprenticeship program.

     (3) Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section, for separations occurring on or after July 26, 2009, an individual who was simultaneously employed in full-time employment and part-time employment and is otherwise eligible for benefits from the loss of the full-time employment shall not be disqualified from benefits because the individual:

     (a) Voluntarily quit the part-time employment before the loss of the full-time employment; and

     (b) Did not have prior knowledge that he or she would be separated from full-time employment.

[2009 c 247 § 1; 2008 c 323 § 1; 2006 c 13 § 2. Prior: 2006 c 12 § 1; 2003 2nd sp.s. c 4 § 4; 2002 c 8 § 1; 2000 c 2 § 12; 1993 c 483 § 8; 1982 1st ex.s. c 18 § 6; 1981 c 35 § 4; 1980 c 74 § 5; 1977 ex.s. c 33 § 4; 1970 ex.s. c 2 § 21; 1953 ex.s. c 8 § 8; 1951 c 215 § 12; 1949 c 214 § 12; 1947 c 215 § 15; 1945 c 35 § 73; Rem. Supp. 1949 § 9998-211; prior: 1943 c 127 § 3; 1941 c 253 § 3; 1939 c 214 § 3; 1937 c 162 § 5.]

RCW 50.20.050

Disqualification for leaving work voluntarily without good cause (as amended by 2009 c 493).

(1) ((With respect to claims that have an effective date before January 4, 2004:

     (a) An individual shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she has left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has obtained bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount.

     The disqualification shall continue if the work obtained is a mere sham to qualify for benefits and is not bona fide work. In determining whether work is of a bona fide nature, the commissioner shall consider factors including but not limited to the following:

     (i) The duration of the work;

     (ii) The extent of direction and control by the employer over the work; and

     (iii) The level of skill required for the work in light of the individual's training and experience.

     (b) An individual shall not be considered to have left work voluntarily without good cause when:

     (i) He or she has left work to accept a bona fide offer of bona fide work as described in (a) of this subsection;

     (ii) The separation was because of the illness or disability of the claimant or the death, illness, or disability of a member of the claimant's immediate family if the claimant took all reasonable precautions, in accordance with any regulations that the commissioner may prescribe, to protect his or her employment status by having promptly notified the employer of the reason for the absence and by having promptly requested reemployment when again able to assume employment: PROVIDED, That these precautions need not have been taken when they would have been a futile act, including those instances when the futility of the act was a result of a recognized labor/management dispatch system;

     (iii) He or she has left work to relocate for the spouse's employment that is due to an employer-initiated mandatory transfer that is outside the existing labor market area if the claimant remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move; or

     (iv) The separation was necessary to protect the claimant or the claimant's immediate family members from domestic violence, as defined in RCW
26.50.010, or stalking, as defined in RCW 9A.46.110.

     (c) In determining under this subsection whether an individual has left work voluntarily without good cause, the commissioner shall only consider work-connected factors such as the degree of risk involved to the individual's health, safety, and morals, the individual's physical fitness for the work, the individual's ability to perform the work, and such other work connected factors as the commissioner may deem pertinent, including state and national emergencies. Good cause shall not be established for voluntarily leaving work because of its distance from an individual's residence where the distance was known to the individual at the time he or she accepted the employment and where, in the judgment of the department, the distance is customarily traveled by workers in the individual's job classification and labor market, nor because of any other significant work factor which was generally known and present at the time he or she accepted employment, unless the related circumstances have so changed as to amount to a substantial involuntary deterioration of the work factor or unless the commissioner determines that other related circumstances would work an unreasonable hardship on the individual were he or she required to continue in the employment.

     (d) Subsection (1)(a) and (c) of this section shall not apply to an individual whose marital status or domestic responsibilities cause him or her to leave employment. Such an individual shall not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she left work and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has requalified, either by obtaining bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earning wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount or by reporting in person to the department during ten different calendar weeks and certifying on each occasion that he or she is ready, able, and willing to immediately accept any suitable work which may be offered, is actively seeking work pursuant to customary trade practices, and is utilizing such employment counseling and placement services as are available through the department. This subsection does not apply to individuals covered by (b)(ii) or (iii) of this subsection.

     (2)
)) With respect to claims that have an effective date on or after January 4, 2004, and for separations that occur before September 6, 2009:

     (a) An individual shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she has left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has obtained bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount.

     The disqualification shall continue if the work obtained is a mere sham to qualify for benefits and is not bona fide work. In determining whether work is of a bona fide nature, the commissioner shall consider factors including but not limited to the following:

     (i) The duration of the work;

     (ii) The extent of direction and control by the employer over the work; and

     (iii) The level of skill required for the work in light of the individual's training and experience.

     (b) An individual is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection when:

     (i) He or she has left work to accept a bona fide offer of bona fide work as described in (a) of this subsection;

     (ii) The separation was necessary because of the illness or disability of the claimant or the death, illness, or disability of a member of the claimant's immediate family if:

     (A) The claimant pursued all reasonable alternatives to preserve his or her employment status by requesting a leave of absence, by having promptly notified the employer of the reason for the absence, and by having promptly requested reemployment when again able to assume employment. These alternatives need not be pursued, however, when they would have been a futile act, including those instances when the futility of the act was a result of a recognized labor/management dispatch system; and

     (B) The claimant terminated his or her employment status, and is not entitled to be reinstated to the same position or a comparable or similar position;

     (iii)(A) With respect to claims that have an effective date before July 2, 2006, he or she: (I) Left work to relocate for the spouse's employment that, due to a mandatory military transfer: (1) Is outside the existing labor market area; and (2) is in Washington or another state that, pursuant to statute, does not consider such an individual to have left work voluntarily without good cause; and (II) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

     (B) With respect to claims that have an effective date on or after July 2, 2006, he or she: (I) Left work to relocate for the spouse's employment that, due to a mandatory military transfer, is outside the existing labor market area; and (II) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

     (iv) The separation was necessary to protect the claimant or the claimant's immediate family members from domestic violence, as defined in RCW 26.50.010, or stalking, as defined in RCW 9A.46.110;

     (v) The individual's usual compensation was reduced by twenty-five percent or more;

     (vi) The individual's usual hours were reduced by twenty-five percent or more;

     (vii) The individual's worksite changed, such change caused a material increase in distance or difficulty of travel, and, after the change, the commute was greater than is customary for workers in the individual's job classification and labor market;

     (viii) The individual's worksite safety deteriorated, the individual reported such safety deterioration to the employer, and the employer failed to correct the hazards within a reasonable period of time;

     (ix) The individual left work because of illegal activities in the individual's worksite, the individual reported such activities to the employer, and the employer failed to end such activities within a reasonable period of time;

     (x) The individual's usual work was changed to work that violates the individual's religious convictions or sincere moral beliefs; or

     (xi) The individual left work to enter an apprenticeship program approved by the Washington state apprenticeship training council. Benefits are payable beginning Sunday of the week prior to the week in which the individual begins active participation in the apprenticeship program.

     (2) With respect to separations that occur on or after September 6, 2009:

     (a) An individual shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which he or she has left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until he or she has obtained bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times his or her weekly benefit amount. Good cause reasons to leave work are limited to reasons listed in (b) of this subsection.

     The disqualification shall continue if the work obtained is a mere sham to qualify for benefits and is not bona fide work. In determining whether work is of a bona fide nature, the commissioner shall consider factors including but not limited to the following:

     (i) The duration of the work;

     (ii) The extent of direction and control by the employer over the work; and

     (iii) The level of skill required for the work in light of the individual's training and experience.

     (b) An individual has good cause and is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection only under the following circumstances:

     (i) He or she has left work to accept a bona fide offer of bona fide work as described in (a) of this subsection;

     (ii) The separation was necessary because of the illness or disability of the claimant or the death, illness, or disability of a member of the claimant's immediate family if:

     (A) The claimant pursued all reasonable alternatives to preserve his or her employment status by requesting a leave of absence, by having promptly notified the employer of the reason for the absence, and by having promptly requested reemployment when again able to assume employment. These alternatives need not be pursued, however, when they would have been a futile act, including those instances when the futility of the act was a result of a recognized labor/management dispatch system; and

     (B) The claimant terminated his or her employment status, and is not entitled to be reinstated to the same position or a comparable or similar position;

     (iii) The claimant: (A) Left work to relocate for the employment of a spouse or domestic partner that is outside the existing labor market area; and (B) remained employed as long as was reasonable prior to the move;

     (iv) The separation was necessary to protect the claimant or the claimant's immediate family members from domestic violence, as defined in RCW 26.50.010, or stalking, as defined in RCW 9A.46.110;

     (v) The individual's usual compensation was reduced by twenty-five percent or more;

     (vi) The individual's usual hours were reduced by twenty-five percent or more;

     (vii) The individual's worksite changed, such change caused a material increase in distance or difficulty of travel, and, after the change, the commute was greater than is customary for workers in the individual's job classification and labor market;

     (viii) The individual's worksite safety deteriorated, the individual reported such safety deterioration to the employer, and the employer failed to correct the hazards within a reasonable period of time;

     (ix) The individual left work because of illegal activities in the individual's worksite, the individual reported such activities to the employer, and the employer failed to end such activities within a reasonable period of time;

     (x) The individual's usual work was changed to work that violates the individual's religious convictions or sincere moral beliefs; or

     (xi) The individual left work to enter an apprenticeship program approved by the Washington state apprenticeship training council. Benefits are payable beginning Sunday of the week prior to the week in which the individual begins active participation in the apprenticeship program.

[2009 c 493 § 3; 2008 c 323 § 1; 2006 c 13 § 2. Prior: 2006 c 12 § 1; 2003 2nd sp.s. c 4 § 4; 2002 c 8 § 1; 2000 c 2 § 12; 1993 c 483 § 8; 1982 1st ex.s. c 18 § 6; 1981 c 35 § 4; 1980 c 74 § 5; 1977 ex.s. c 33 § 4; 1970 ex.s. c 2 § 21; 1953 ex.s. c 8 § 8; 1951 c 215 § 12; 1949 c 214 § 12; 1947 c 215 § 15; 1945 c 35 § 73; Rem. Supp. 1949 § 9998-211; prior: 1943 c 127 § 3; 1941 c 253 § 3; 1939 c 214 § 3; 1937 c 162 § 5.]

Notes:

     Reviser's note: RCW 50.20.050 was amended twice during the 2009 legislative session, each without reference to the other. For rule of construction concerning sections amended more than once during the same legislative session, see RCW 1.12.025.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- 2009 c 493: See note following RCW 50.29.021.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- 2008 c 323: "If any part of this act is found to be in conflict with federal requirements that are a prescribed condition to the allocation of federal funds to the state or the eligibility of employers in this state for federal unemployment tax credits, the conflicting part of this act is inoperative solely to the extent of the conflict, and the finding or determination does not affect the operation of the remainder of this act. Rules adopted under this act must meet federal requirements that are a necessary condition to the receipt of federal funds by the state or the granting of federal unemployment tax credits to employers in this state." [2008 c 323 § 3.]

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2006 c 13: See notes following RCW 50.20.120.

     Retroactive application -- 2006 c 12 § 1: "Section 1 of this act applies retroactively to claims that have an effective date on or after January 4, 2004." [2006 c 12 § 2.]

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 2003 2nd sp.s. c 4: See notes following RCW 50.01.010.

     Application -- 2000 c 2 §§ 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 12-15: See note following RCW 50.22.150.

     Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- Effective date -- 2000 c 2: See notes following RCW 50.04.355.

     Effective dates, applicability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- Severability -- 1993 c 483: See notes following RCW 50.04.293.

     Severability -- Conflict with federal requirements -- 1982 1st ex.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 50.12.200.

     Severability -- 1981 c 35: See note following RCW 50.22.030.

     Severability -- 1980 c 74: See note following RCW 50.04.323.

     Effective dates -- Construction -- 1977 ex.s. c 33: See notes following RCW 50.04.030.

     Effective date -- 1970 ex.s. c 2: See note following RCW 50.04.020.