Employment Services Industry Licensing Guide
Potential employees lined up for the job interview

Washington Employment Agency

A businesswoman accepting her new job offer with a handshake

Licensing requirements for Washington employment, staffing and talent agencies.

This page provides an overview of employment services licensing in Washington for individuals and agencies. You will find state requirements, application fees, filing instructions, and more. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

Companies that provide employment services in Washington must apply for a license prior to doing business. Depending on the services offered, businesses may need to apply for more than one license type, and in some cases, an individual license will be required as well.

Company Licenses

Washington Employment Services Company Licenses

Companies acting as employment agencies in Washington must obtain the following licenses before offering employment services. Applications usually require proof of incorporation or a certificate of authority.

Washington Employment Agency License

Agency:Washington Department of Revenue - Business Licensing Service
Fact Checked:5/13/20

Initial Registration

This section applies to firms that are applying for a license in Washington for the first time.

Form:

Online

Agency Fee:

$19

Fact Checked:12/7/16

Registration Renewal

This section applies to firms that are already licensed in Washington and need to renew their license.

Not required



Renewal Not Required

Not required



Washington Professional Employer Organization License

Not required



Professional Employer Organization licensure is not required on the State level in Washington.

Washington does not have a registration requirement for PEOs, however, PEO are required to report client company information and file quarterly tax and wage reports.

More information: Washington Employment Security Department
Law:

WAC 192-300-210

Financial Reporting
Quarterly Tax and Wage Report

Instructions:

Pay online using EAMS
https://secureaccess.wa.gov/esd/eams/AvailableServices.aspx

Pay by mailing a check
The paper remittance listing(s), labeled "ICESA WASHINGTON REPORTING," will list the nine-digit ES reference number, amount remitted, check number, federal ID number, Unified Business Identifier (UBI) and business name, in that order.

  • Remittance listings will have a maximum of 50 accounts per page and each page will include a total for that page.
  • Include information for one account (nine-digit ES reference number) per line.
  • If submitting more than one report, submit a separate check for each account with the ES reference number for that payment listed in the memo field. The amount of the check must equal the Total payment due and amount remitted fields listed in the T Record (see bulk filing format specifications for details).
  • Put the checks in the same order as the remittance-listing page.
  • Mail each remittance-listing page, with the corresponding checks to:
    • Standard:
      Employment Security Department
      PO Box 34467
      Seattle, WA  98124-1467
    • Priority mail only:
      Employment Security Department
      1109 Pacific Avenue
      Tacoma, WA  98402
Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Quarterly by the end of the month following each quarter. When a due date falls on a weekend or state holiday, your report may be postmarked the following business day.

Law:

WAC 192-300-210

Penalties:
  • All employers must file a tax and wage report every quarter, including employers who have no payroll for a given quarter. If you fail to submit a report on time, you will be charged a penalty of $25 per report (RCW 50.12.220).
  • You will also have to pay a penalty if you are late on a tax payment, or if you file an incomplete report or file on the wrong form.
  • Other penalties apply for knowing misrepresentation of payroll (see RCW 50.12.220(3)), for failing to keep required records (see RCW 50.12.070(3)), and for knowingly failing to register with us as required (see RCW 50.12.072).
Notes:
  • File a separate electronic report for each client employer using electronic reporting using EAMS, or UIWebTax
  • You also have the option of filing separate paper reports for each client employer (Forms 5208A and 5208B).
  • If you file separately for each client employer, you also must submit a separate tax payment for each client employer. Payments can be made by check or online.
Fact Checked:6/13/21

Supplemental Reporting
Client Company Registration

Form:

Client Registration Form

Instructions:

Instructions for Submitting Client Data Electronically to Washington
State Employment Security Department

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Within 30 days for any client employer registering with the department for the first time and within 30 days of the effective date whenever the professional employer organization and a client employer enter a professional employer agreement.

Required Attachments:

PEOs that have client companies in Washington must provide the department with all of the following information for each client company:

  • Name and address
  • Unified business identifier (UBI Number)
  • Employment Security reference number (current or former)
  • Names and Social Security number of each corporate officer, owner or limited liability company member
  • Physical address in Washington State where payroll records will be available for inspection
  • A signed power of attorney form
Fact Checked:6/13/21

Washington Talent Agency License

Agency:Washington Department of Revenue - Business Licensing Service
Notes:

Washington does not have a separate talent agency license, but an employment agency license may be required.

Fact Checked:4/3/18

Initial Registration

Form:

http://bls.dor.wa.gov/empagency.aspx

Agency Fee:

$19

Fact Checked:12/7/16

Registration Renewal

Not required



Employee Leasing Company - Enter into leasing contracts with other businesses that require labor. The leasing company loans its workers to the lessee while still providing specified responsibilities, such as workers compensation insurance, to the employees. This includes long term (6 months or more) temporary arrangements but often excludes temporary help arrangements. Unlike professional employer organizations, employee leasing companies are contracted when an employer needs to hire staff and does not want to handle human resources responsibilities.

Employment Agency - An entity that, for compensation, procures or attempts to procure employment for a person.

Professional Employer Organization - PEOs take on the human resources role for businesses and act as a co-employer in the sense that the client company's workers are administratively employees of the PEO but functionally these employees are controlled by the client company. Unlike employee leasing companies, PEOs are contracted when an employer already has staff and does not want to handle human resources responsibilities.

Staffing Agency - An entity that procures temporary or part-time employment for a person who then works under the supervision of a worksite employer.

Talent Agency - An entity that, for compensation, procures or attempts to procure employment or placement for an artist. (Certain art forms are excluded)

American Staffing Association
Staffing, recruiting, and workforce solution industry advocacy group.

National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS)
Education and training oriented association for personnel services providers.

National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO)
Provides advocacy efforts, information, and other services to members of the employment industry.

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