Reporting new workers saves employers $3.3 million

Employers in Washington state helped each other avoid approximately $3.3 million in unemployment-benefit charges over the last year by promptly reporting their new employees to the state.

The Employment Security Department matches its record of people who are collecting unemployment benefits with new-hire information from employers to find people who continue to collect benefits after they’ve found a new job. When there is a match, the worker must pay back the money he or she received, and the previous employer’s unemployment tax account is not charged for the cost of benefits. Benefit charges are used to determine an employer’s tax rate.

From May 2006 through April 2007, the cross-match found 6,814 people who were claiming benefits after a new employer reported hiring them. Those matches represent about $2.7 million in unemployment benefits that had been paid out. In some cases, the match was found before benefits were paid, totaling $572,690 over the year. Employers were not charged for those benefits.

“A lot of overpayments happen because people don’t report that they’ve found a new job,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “Employers can help us stop that fraud and save themselves money by reporting their new workers.”

Employers are required to report all new employees to the Department of Social and Health Services child-support program within 20 days of hire. They can report on the Internet at or call 800-562-0479 for more information. Proper reporting also reduces workers’ compensation fraud and helps the state collect child support.

Matching records with other state agencies is just one way Employment Security fights unemployment fraud, according to Lee. The department also cross-matches records with the Social Security Administration and with new-hire information from other states. It monitors telephone numbers and mailing addresses to uncover multiple-claim schemes, and investigates tips from the public.