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Are you losing your job because of vaccination warrants?  You can collect unemployment benefits in these states.

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Are you losing your job because of vaccination warrants? You can collect unemployment benefits in these states.

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The Kansas GOP-led legislature approved a similar bill that Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, recently signed. And in Arkansas, which is controlled by Republicans, a law restricting vaccination mandates will take effect in January.

Other states, including Wyoming and Wisconsin, have considered such provisions, and others are expected to consider similar legislation when lawmakers return to their capitals in January.

States must approve these unemployment compensation measures because workers are generally not eligible if they voluntarily quit their jobs or are made redundant for violating company policies.

Employers have significant authority to impose a series of mandates on their workers, said Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects at the right-wing Tax Foundation. Non-compliance is a reason for dismissal.

More than half of employers require or will force their staff to be vaccinated, according to a recent survey by Willis Towers Watson, a consulting firm. Large employers, including United Airlines, Ford, and Tyson Foods, have instituted the requirement for some or all of their workers.
The Biden administration has announced Covid-19 vaccination warrants for federal employees and contractors, as well as large employers and healthcare providers who participate in Medicare and Medicaid. However, these efforts face legal challenges.
Several states and municipalities have also issued vaccination warrants for their public workforces, as well as for some private employers, such as hospitals, nursing homes and daycares. And many of these employees will not be eligible for unemployment benefits if they do not comply with the directive.

For example, workers in healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and schools in New York City who voluntarily leave or are terminated for refusing to comply with employer-imposed vaccination requirements will be deemed ineligible for the. Unemployment compensation in the absence of a valid request for accommodation, the state Department of Labor says in its FAQ.

But those who have no public exposure to the job and have a compelling reason to refuse to comply may be able to register for unemployment benefits, the state said.

Protect workers

Governors and state officials fighting against vaccination warrants say they are looking out for their residents.

“This legislation also gives employees assurance that they will still receive unemployment benefits despite being fired for standing up for their beliefs,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said in a statement after signing the bill at the end of October.

Some states also protect unemployed people who face vaccination warrants in their job searches.

In Kansas, for example, the new law allows those who turn down a job offer because their exemption request was refused to remain unemployed, said Jenna Brofsky, senior partner at Husch Blackwell, a law firm. . Typically, those who turn down a job lose their eligibility.

However, employers will likely have to foot the bill for the increased benefits, which has raised some concern in the business community. Typically, employers’ unemployment tax rate increases when their laid-off workers receive unemployment benefits.

The laws were passed very quickly, and there wasn’t much time to assess all the impacts, said Douglas Holmes, president of UWC – Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation, which represents employers on labor issues. public policy.

Additionally, while states have different unemployment benefit eligibility rules, the measures infringe on companies’ prerogatives to set their own employment policies, Walczak said.

“Ultimately, this could conflict with federal requirements on employers where they are forced to pay benefits despite their hands being tied by federal rules,” he said.

Cut profits for some, expand them for others

Not so long ago, Florida, Tennessee, Iowa and Arkansas were all focused on cutting benefits for the unemployed. All four were among two dozen states that prematurely ended at least one of Congress’ three pandemic unemployment compensation programs, citing labor shortages.
The idea was that cutting federal benefits would push people back into the workforce. Millions of laid-off Americans have lost some or all of their support.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee tweeted Tuesday: “By dropping unemployment benefits in the event of a pandemic, our state has accelerated the economic recovery and helped thousands of Tennessians get back to work.”

His office did not return a request for comment on the new law that extends eligibility for unemployment benefits.

The latest state movements are “pretty rich,” said Andrew Stettner, senior researcher at the left-wing Century Foundation.

“Usually Republican governors are very strict about unemployment benefits and who follows the rules,” said Stettner, who analyzed the impact of early layoffs on the unemployed. “They are the ones who rushed to cut benefits, and now they want more people to have benefits – workers who refuse vaccines.”

To weaken vaccine mandates and protect those who lose their jobs for violating guidelines appears to be “bad enough and counterproductive policy,” said Stan Veuger, a senior researcher at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

“It pays people not to get vaccinated,” he said. “As much as we would like (the pandemic) to end, that doesn’t help.”

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