If you have lost your job due to no fault of your own, unemployment benefits can be a lifeline for you. This is especially true for individuals who do not have any money set aside in savings.
However, in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have been terminated because of circumstances beyond your control.
In general, this means that if your firm downsizes or eliminates your position, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits because you have done nothing wrong.
However, if you consistently arrive late to work or break business rules by sharing confidential information with a rival, that is sufficient cause to not only be fired but also to be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits in the future.
Many employers began implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandates earlier this year, a move that has undoubtedly elicited a range of emotions from their employees.
Many employees who have refused the vaccine and as a result have been fired have been surprised to hear that their actions have disqualified them from being eligible for unemployment benefits.
However, some states are currently modifying their policies when it comes to unemployment benefits for those who have not been vaccinated.
A Difficult Scenario?
In the event that an employer requires you to acquire a COVID-19 vaccine, refusing to do so is deemed a violation of company policy. Because of this, if you are terminated for cause, your termination has been deemed a justification for your termination.
Most companies are now obligated to offer exceptions to their COVID-19 vaccine policies in order to accommodate persons who are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons.
However, companies do have the authority to enforce vaccine mandates, and in most jurisdictions, being fired for failing to comply with these mandates will result in the loss of jobless benefits if you do not comply.
However, the governors of Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee recently signed legislation stating that workers who lose their jobs as a result of failing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination are eligible to collect unemployment benefits, despite the fact that this is in violation of typical state rules.
Things could also alter in other states, such as New York. Workers fired for refusing to get vaccinated would be entitled to unemployment benefits under legislation presented by lawmakers in New York, Wisconsin, and Arkansas, among other states.
According to a poll conducted by Willis Towers Watson, over 57 percent of large corporations either have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place or plan to implement one. More than half of those, though, will only proceed with their plans if the Biden administration makes it mandatory for them to do so first.
The Biden administration has attempted to put in place a rule requiring COVID-19 immunizations for enterprises with 100 or more employees.
However, the proposal has not been successful. Nevertheless, following a ruling by a federal appeals court to put the rule on hold, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has delayed enforcement of that regulation.
As a temporary measure, the Biden administration is encouraging businesses to comply with COVID-19 immunization obligations on their own initiative. Many businesses want those regulations in place regardless of whether or not a government mandate is in place.
Employees who do not choose to receive the vaccine have several options
Many people believe that getting vaccinated is a matter of personal preference. Consider discussing your concerns regarding vaccination with your employer if you have strong opinions about it.
Even if you don’t qualify for an exemption based on religious or medical grounds, you never know when your employer could agree to create an exception for you, such as allowing you to work from home or having your blood tested daily in place of a real vaccine.
However, if your employer refuses to bend, keep in mind that in most parts of the country, being fired for failing to obtain a flu shot would result in your inability to claim unemployment benefits. It will be necessary for you to accept this risk if you do not receive a COVID-19 shot when it is required at your place of employment.