Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Questions are grouped by category. Click on any of the questions below to open the accordion box with information to answer that question.

General Furlough FAQs

For those employees who will be furloughed one day per week, the entire Seattle Colleges District will be taking their furlough day (8 hours) on the same days. That day will be Friday, August 21. A furlough day originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 25 has been cancelled due to changes at the State level which resulted in SharedWork no longer being available for furloughed staff on this date..

Note: faculty and certain staff working in grant-funded programs are excluded from these furloughs.

If you are working summer hours, that is four ten-hour days rather than the traditional five eight-hour days, you should work with your supervisor regarding your schedule such that you only work thirty-two hours (e.g. four eight-hour days that week).

The letter you received from HR regarding the July furlough dates should outline how many hours you should furlough per week. The expectation is that your hours will be reduced by 20%, or proportional to one full day of a full-time appointment. For example, if you work 75% FTE (i.e. 30 hours per week), you are expected to furlough for 6 hours per week (40 hours * 75% FTE * 20% Furlough).

Please work with your VP and/or President to request an exception for staff to work for necessary support of operations. All exceptions must be submitted to your President for approval.

Please work with your VP and/or President to request an exception for staff to work in lieu of a furlough. Exceptions will be granted only in extremely limited circumstances. All exceptions must be submitted to your President for approval.

You will need to take a different furlough day or spread the 8 hours of furlough out across your workweek. Please work with your supervisor regarding your schedule. 

No, employees must stay in "no-pay" status during the furlough day unless otherwise granted an exemption. 

Yes, you can still take your leave on the days you are not expected to furlough. Your total hours for the week, including leave, cannot exceed 32 hours (if you're full time). You may not use leave on the designated furlough days.

For employees who work for employers participating in the SharedWork Program, those employees will continue to receive the same retirement benefit as though their hours had not been reduced, as long as their furlough hours are coded correctly as covered by the SharedWork program.  

No, they are are not included in the furlough.

Exempt staff should only record the hours worked on the week of the furlough. The non- furlough weeks we would only record time away such as vacation, sick leave, etc.

SharedWork FAQs

About the SharedWork Program and the CARES Act

The CARES Act provides funding from the federal government to state unemployment agencies through December 26, 2020. It funds “an amount equal to 100 percent of the amount of [Shared Work] compensation paid under a [SharedWork] program.” The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program provides a flat, extra $600 weekly payment paid entirely by the federal government for unemployed and partially unemployed workers. This extra $600 is available in Washington only through the unemployment week ending on July 25, 2020. This full additional payment applies to permanent employees and will not be paid to employees who are seasonal (during their off season), temporary or intermittent (non-perm/on-call). Learn more about applying for SharedWork.

You must work between fifty percent and ninety percent of your usual weekly hours to receive SharedWork benefits. Eligible employees receive partial unemployment insurance benefits based on the percentage of hours that they work each week.  

For weeks you are not eligible for SharedWork benefit payments, you could be entitled to a regular unemployment benefit, based on the law requirements. In any week you work less than fifty percent or more than ninety percent of your usual weekly hours, your claim will be processed as a regular unemployment claim. Although work search is required for regular unemployment insurance, employees on SharedWork are not required to perform a work search.

Yes, you may be self-employed. You must provide information about your self-employment activity. Your unemployment insurance claim will be reviewed to determine if you are eligible for benefits. Each week when you submit your claim, you must report self-employment work hours and net earnings. If your hours total 40 hours or more each week, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits for that week.  

Yes, you can get a second or even a third job, if you want to. However, every week you submit an unemployment claim, you must report hours and gross earnings from all your employers. If your hours total 40 hours or more each week, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits for that week.

You are required to report your separation from any employer and the reason you separated from that employer. Your unemployment insurance claim will be reviewed to determine if you’re eligible for benefits.

You can continue to file and report your full time hours and earnings, but you will not receive a benefit, but it will keep your claim open and active.

Individuals who received unemployment benefits in July, including SharedWork, were eligible for additional funds through the CARES Act. Those funds were an extra 600$ per week in addition to your SharedWork benefit. The federal government did not renew this program, and it expired in July 2020. As such, the additional CARES Act funds are not available for the August furlough day. 

Filing for SharedWork Unemployment FAQs

You must complete three steps to get unemployment benefits:

  1. Create a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account in order to access ESD’s eServices.
  2. Apply for unemployment benefits.
  3. Submit weekly claims each week you want to receive a payment. You submit a claim each week after you have a furlough day.

Please review the resources and steps on the informational page about furloughs.

ESD has prepared two walk-throughs for State employees to assist in completing your paperwork:

How to file your initial application for unemployment.

How to file your weekly claim.

If you can not log in for any reason (trouble with your SAW account, it’s still locked, SSN doesn’t match DOB, etc.) – you should email the SAW help desk at This team can either resolve the issue or will forward to the correct department within ESD for resolution.

ESD has developed the following instructional videos:

They have also developed guides available on the left-hand navigation of their employee web page. These guides include step-by-step pictures of how to answer many questions during the application process.

You don't need to request the additional $600 payment. It will automatically be added to your payment if you are eligible for it, but you still must file weekly claims.

ESD may be able to consider your hours worked in another state.

There's an option early in the application process where you will be asked if you have worked for an employer in another state. If you click Yes, you'll be prompted to input information regarding that employer. ESD will then contact the other state and "bring over" your hours to try and meet the 680 hour threshold. This may take some time (e.g. California is telling other states to give them at least 30 days), but ESD will then determine eligibility as of your application date.

If you find that you get an error message saying that your Social Security number already is associated with another account, you might indeed be a victim of fraud. ESD is taking care of this for you.

Please report this to your HR team to ensure ESD has a copy of your Seattle Colleges email address to help expedite unlocking your account.

You should also read the answer to What should I do if I’m a victim of identity theft? in the Questions and answers section of this ESD page about fraud and follow the steps outlined there.

Email the following department withing ESD and include your SAW username and contact information and they will either work to correct the issue or will forward the issue to the appropriate department for resolution:

Your campus HR can help you with your issues or concerns. If they cannot, they can submit a correction on your behalf to ESD.