The method of calculations of a thick plate on the two-parameter layered foundation by the finite element method is presented. The numerical model allows to add a few (number of) foundation layers. The expressions for the element stiffness matrices of the foundation are based on 18-node zero-thickness interface elements. For modelling of thick plates the 9-node Mindlin element of the Lagrange family is used. The formulation of the problem takes into account the shear deformation of the plate and unilateral contact conditions between plate and foundation. The tensionless character of the foundation is achieved by removing from the global stiffness matrix the appropriate part of foundation stiffness attached to the node being in the separation stage. The advantages of the proposed algorithm are illustrated by numerical examples.