The Washington Employment Security Department announced today that the unemployment taxable wage base is set to rise to $62,500 in 2022, up from $56,500 in 2021.
This will be the highest taxable wage base ever implemented by any state and the first to exceed $60,000.
The ESD has historically tied the taxable wage base to the state’s average annual wage. This causes automatic increases or decreases each year. The average annual wage rose to $76,741 in 2020, a 10.1% increase from 2019.
In a news release, the Department said “The higher than normal increase in reported average wages can be attributed to the fact that thousands of lower-paid workers lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and higher-paid workers remained employed. While it is common for the average wage to rise during recessions, since lower wage workers are more likely to be laid off than higher paid ones, the shift during the pandemic recession was much more dramatic than during the Great Recession.”
The average annual wage is also used to calculate weekly unemployment benefit amounts in Washington. As of July 4, 2021, unemployment benefits will range from $295 to $929 per week.
No action is required by employers at this time. As always, we will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as they become available. If there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website for the latest news and updates.