4 states pay unemployment benefits to laid-off unvaccinated workers

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Some states make it easier for Americans to receive unemployment benefits if they are fired for not being vaccinated against Covid-19.

In recent weeks, the governors of Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee have signed laws changing the rules for receiving unemployment benefits. Workers in these states who have lost their jobs due to refusal to comply with workplace Covid-19 vaccination requirements are now eligible for benefits.

This is contrary to typical government regulations, which tend to prohibit aid if workers are fired for failing to comply with certain workplace regulations, such as vaccine requirements or mandatory drug tests, according to labor experts.

Three states (Florida, Iowa, and Tennessee) are headed by Republican governors. The Governor of Kansas is a Democrat.

Republican legislators in other states, including Arkansas, New York and Wisconsin, have submitted similar bills since September, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. database

“I wouldn’t be surprised if others do it, especially when legislators return to session. [next year], “according to Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

The move is prompted by many US employers weighing the need for workplace vaccinations and growing concerns about the omicron variant.

According to a poll published Tuesday by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, about 57% of large businesses require or plan to require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. However, more than half of them will only move forward if the Biden vaccine rule comes into effect.

The Biden administration’s rule requires companies with at least 100 employees to vaccinate their staff or test negative for Covid on a weekly basis. The OSHA suspended enforcement and enforcement of the measure after a federal appeals court ruled to suspend the case.

The rule was supposed to take effect on January 4th. On Thursday, President Joe Biden asked businesses to voluntarily comply with the requirements.

“Simply put, the delay in introducing the standard is likely to cost many lives a day, in addition to high hospitalizations, other serious health consequences and huge costs,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “This is a sum total of harm of the highest order.”

Some Republican officials seeking to reverse the policy argue that it infringes on personal freedoms.

“I believe the vaccine is the best defense against Covid-19, and we have given Iowans the information they need to determine what is best for themselves and their families, but no Iowan should be forced to lose a job or livelihood. Existence Due to Covid-19 Vaccine “Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said October 29 after the signing of the law to change the rules of unemployment.

In addition to stricter rules for collecting benefits, new state laws also generally make it easier for employees to qualify for certain exemptions from workplace vaccination requirements.

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States generally require companies to allow exceptions to certain workplace rules for medical or religious reasons.

Workers who are eligible for the exemption are legally protected from dismissal for failing to comply with vaccination regulations.

Those who are not eligible for exemption and are laid off are now eligible for support in the form of unemployment benefits.

The policy appears to run counter to states’ actions on unemployment benefits over the summer, according to Alexa Tapia, coordinator of the unemployment insurance campaign for the National Employment Bill.

Florida, Iowa and Tennessee were among 26 states that waived federal unemployment benefits in the months before their official Labor Day expires. They argued that the perks contributed to labor shortages by offering recipients an incentive not to look for work. (The data over the following months showed that this was largely not the case.)

Tapia said the new unemployment laws are sending the opposite signal by offering financial incentives to people who lose their jobs due to the need for vaccines.

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