You must have a registered business in order to hire employees. If you know you will be hiring employees at the time of application, including minors and workers in the home, select the “Hire Employees” or “Hire Employees under 18” for the purpose of the application.
Steps to hiring employees
File your Business License Application for hiring employees, no sooner than 90 days before you plan to hire.
- By submitting the application, your business will be registered for Workers’ Compensation through the Department of Labor & Industries, and Unemployment Insurance through the Employment Security Department. You will receive account information and directions on how to file quarterly wage/hour reports from each agency individually after registering.
These reports are required quarterly even if you have no active employees or hours to report. Failure to submit your quarterly reports will result in the assessment of penalties and interest.
An employee is someone subject to your control. Control exists when the employer determines the employees’ work schedule, hours, and job responsibilities. Types of employees:
- Adults: No special restrictions.
- Minors under 18: Apply for a permit to employ minors when you submit the Business License Application.
- Minors under 16: Contact the Department of Labor & Industries for additional requirements.
- Employees working in Washington for an out-of-state business with no Washington location.
- People that work in or around your home.
Independent contractors are not considered employees. They:
- engage in their own independent occupation or business
- are registered or licensed with the appropriate state and federal agencies
- usually, advertise their services and have a significant investment in their business
- keep business records and file taxes as a business
Report your new hires to the Department of Social and Health Services within 20 days of hire.
- If you have already applied to hire employees at a location, you do not need to apply again when you have new hires. Instead, each time you hire an employee, you must report the hiring to the Department of Social and Health Services.
How to apply
State tax registration
Registering your business name as a trade name
Business License Application fee
Complete the following and mail to:
Business Licensing Service
P.O. Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034