50.20.044  <<  50.20.050 >>   50.20.060

Disqualification for leaving work voluntarily without good cause (as amended by 2021 c 215). (Effective July 1, 2022.)

(1) 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))RCW 7.105.010, 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))RCW 7.105.010, 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)))(1) 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.

NOTES:

Effective date2021 c 215: See note following RCW 7.105.900.

Disqualification for leaving work voluntarily without good cause (as amended by 2021 c 251).

(1) With respect to separations that occur on or after September 6, 2009, and for separations that occur before April 4, 2021:
(a) A claimant shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which the claimant left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until the claimant obtains bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times the claimant's 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)) the claimant's training and experience.
(b) A claimant has good cause and is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection only under the following circumstances:
(i) The claimant 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 the claimant's 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 the claimant's 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 claimant's usual compensation was reduced by twenty-five percent or more;
(vi) The claimant's usual hours were reduced by twenty-five percent or more;
(vii) The claimant'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 claimant's job classification and labor market;
(viii) The claimant's worksite safety deteriorated, the claimant reported such safety deterioration to the employer, and the employer failed to correct the hazards within a reasonable period of time;
(ix) The claimant left work because of illegal activities in the claimant's worksite, the claimant reported such activities to the employer, and the employer failed to end such activities within a reasonable period of time;
(x) The claimant's usual work was changed to work that violates the claimant's religious convictions or sincere moral beliefs; or
(xi) The claimant 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 claimant begins active participation in the apprenticeship program.
(2) With respect to separations that occur on or after April 4, 2021:
(a) A claimant shall be disqualified from benefits beginning with the first day of the calendar week in which the claimant has left work voluntarily without good cause and thereafter for seven calendar weeks and until the claimant has obtained bona fide work in employment covered by this title and earned wages in that employment equal to seven times the claimant's 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 claimant's training and experience.
(b) A claimant has good cause and is not disqualified from benefits under (a) of this subsection only under the following circumstances:
(i) The claimant 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 made reasonable efforts to preserve the claimant's 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 the claimant's 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 claimant's usual compensation was reduced by twenty-five percent or more;
(vi) The claimant's usual hours were reduced by twenty-five percent or more;
(vii) The claimant'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 claimant's worksite safety deteriorated, the claimant reported such safety deterioration to the employer, and the employer failed to correct the hazards within a reasonable period of time;
(ix) The claimant left work because of illegal activities in the claimant's worksite, the claimant reported such activities to the employer, and the employer failed to end such activities within a reasonable period of time;
(x) The claimant's usual work was changed to work that violates the claimant's religious convictions or sincere moral beliefs;
(xi) The claimant 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 claimant begins active participation in the apprenticeship program; or
(xii) During a public health emergency:
(A) The claimant was unable to perform the claimant's work for the employer from the claimant's home;
(B) The claimant is able to perform, available to perform, and can actively seek suitable work which can be performed for an employer from the claimant's home; and
(C) The claimant or another individual residing with the claimant is at higher risk of severe illness or death from the disease that is the subject of the public health emergency because the higher risk individual:
(I) Was in an age category that is defined as high risk for the disease that is the subject of the public health emergency by the federal centers for disease control and prevention, the department of health, or the equivalent agency in the state where the individual resides; or
(II) Has an underlying health condition, verified as required by the department by rule, that is identified as a risk factor for the disease that is the subject of the public health emergency by the federal centers for disease control and prevention, the department of health, or the equivalent agency in the state where the individual resides.
(3) With respect to claims that occur on or after July 4, 2021, a claimant has good cause and is not disqualified from benefits under subsection (2)(a) of this section under the following circumstances, in addition to those listed under subsection (2)(b) of this section, if, during a public health emergency, the claimant worked at a health care facility as defined in RCW 9A.50.010, was directly involved in the delivery of health services, and left work for the period of quarantine consistent with the recommended guidance from the United States centers for disease control and prevention or subject to the direction of the state or local health jurisdiction because of exposure to or contracting the disease that is the subject of the declaration of the public health emergency.
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a claimant 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 claimant:
(a) Voluntarily quit the part-time employment before the loss of the full-time employment; and
(b) Did not have prior knowledge that the claimant would be separated from full-time employment.

NOTES:

Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 26.50.010 was repealed by 2021 c 215 § 170, effective July 1, 2022.
(2) RCW 50.20.050 was amended twice during the 2021 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 requirements2021 c 251 §§ 1-4: See note following RCW 50.04.294.
Effective date2021 c 251: See note following RCW 50.04.294.
IntentConflict with federal requirementsEffective date2021 c 2: See notes following RCW 50.04.323.
Conflict with federal requirements2009 c 493: See note following RCW 50.29.021.
Conflict with federal requirements2008 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 requirementsPart headings not lawSeverability2006 c 13: See notes following RCW 50.20.120.
Retroactive application2006 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 requirementsSeverabilityEffective date2003 2nd sp.s. c 4: See notes following RCW 50.01.010.
Application2000 c 2 §§ 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 12-15: See note following RCW 50.22.150.
Conflict with federal requirementsSeverabilityEffective date2000 c 2: See notes following RCW 50.04.355.
Effective dates, applicabilityConflict with federal requirementsSeverability1993 c 483: See notes following RCW 50.04.293.
SeverabilityConflict with federal requirements1982 1st ex.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 50.12.200.
Severability1981 c 35: See note following RCW 50.22.030.
Severability1980 c 74: See note following RCW 50.04.323.
Effective datesConstruction1977 ex.s. c 33: See notes following RCW 50.04.030.
Effective date1970 ex.s. c 2: See note following RCW 50.04.020.
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