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Monday, June 22, 2020

Coronavirus Update 6–22–2020: Ohio ends unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to work (with some key exceptions)


The state of Ohio will begin denying unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to work because of coronavirus. 

Governor DeWine issued an Executive Order last week directing the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to deny unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to return to work after recall to the same position held before the state's Stay at Home Order took effect.

There are, however, five key exceptions that will permit an employee to decline recall and continue to qualify for unemployment benefits.

  1. Employees who have a medical professional's recommendation that they are in a category considered to have a "high risk" of contracting coronavirus and who are not otherwise able to work remotely;
  2. Employees who are age 65 or older;
  3. Employees who have tangible evidence of a health or safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, or wear protective equipment;
  4. Employees who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and are subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional; or
  5. Employees who are staying home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or is subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.

This Executive Order will be a huge help to employers, which continue to struggle with bringing employees back to work in the face of expanded unemployment benefits that often pay them more than their regular wages.

It also strikes the correct balance between employees who have a legitimate medical reason not to work during this pandemic and employers who need their employees to return to work.

* Photo by Tonik on Unsplash