In this paper, a coupling method between finite element and analytical layer-elements is utilized to analyze the time-dependent behavior of a plate of any shape and finite rigidity resting on layered saturated soils. Based on the integral transform techniques together with the aid of an order reduction method, an analytical layer-element solution is derived from the governing equations for three-dimensional Biot consolidation with respect to a Cartesian coordinate system and then extended to be the fundamental solution for the layered saturated soil under a point load. The Mindlin plate is modeled by eight-noded isoparametric elements. The governing equations of the interaction between soil and plate in the Laplace-Fourier transformed domain are deduced by referring to the coupling theory of FEM/BEM, and the final solution is obtained by applying numerical inversion. Numerical examples concerned with the time-dependent response of a plate are performed to demonstrate the influence of soil and plate properties on the interaction process. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.