CORONAVIRUS

Jobless benefits available to some who refuse to work for coronavirus-related reasons

Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news
Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center, Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, pool)

DES MOINES — Iowans may refuse to return to work for coronavirus-related reasons and still collect unemployment under certain circumstances, the state’s workforce development department said Monday.

According to the department, Iowans may continue to collect unemployment benefits while choosing to remain home if he or she:

• Has tested positive for COVID-19 or experienced symptoms.

• Has a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

• Does not have child care or transportation for COVID-19-related reasons

• Has recovered from COVID-19 but suffered from medical complications that caused an inability to perform essential job duties.

Employees experiencing any of those circumstances should work with their employer, the department recommended.

Refusing to work for any other reason would be considered a “voluntary quit,” and the individual would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits, including newly created federal assistance, the department said.

“The additional unemployment benefits that are provided under the (federal) CARES Act are meant to be temporary in nature and bridge the gap between the outbreak and a return to normal,” state workforce development director Beth Townsend said in a news release.

“For Iowans whose employment may be permanently affected by the outbreak, we have many training opportunities under Future Ready Iowa to help them obtain training and begin a new career in a high-demand, high-paying job.”

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Iowans with more questions are encouraged to visit the department’s website, iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov.

Comments: (563) 383-2492; erin.murphy@lee.net

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