Workers will lose unemployment if they refuse to go back to work when recalled, with exceptions, state says

Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 4:52 PM CDT
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State officials issued guidance on Monday on what exceptions employees may cite in order to not return to work while still receiving unemployment benefits if an employer recalls them.

Iowa Workforce Development said that workers who refuse to return to work after being temporarily laid off, without a valid excuse, would have their unemployment benefits terminated. Those employees would be considered to have voluntarily quit.

Valid circumstances related to COVID-19 include if the employee has a confirmed case with symptoms, if complications from the disease have made them unable to perform job duties, if another member in their household has COVID-19, if they do not have childcare due to COVID-19 restrictions, and if they do not have transportation due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"The additional unemployment benefits that are provided under the CARES Act are meant to be temporary in nature and bridge the gap between the outbreak and a return to normal,” Beth Townsend, the director of Iowa Workforce Development, said, in a statement.. “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."

The department said that employees with concerns should work with their employers on transitioning back to work.

Part-time workers who are receiving unemployment benefits may still be eligible for them, depending on their earnings. Those with concerns should contact Iowa Workforce Development.