Sick American workers who miss work due to COVID don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. This is the assessment of a US Department of Labor policy advisor.
Omicron Pushes US To Achieve Dubious Record of Most Infections in a Day
The US set a tragic record Monday when they reported more than 1 million new cases within a single day. This is according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, the new seven-day average for new cases is around 480,000.
Omicron, a highly contagious strain of coronavirus, is wreaking havoc on the US economy. Businesses are once again experiencing disruptions.
Workers are either going home sick or going home to avoid getting infected. Individuals who test positive for COVID receive instructions to stay home to recover. Doing so does not qualify an individual for jobless benefits.
American Workers Infected With COVID Do Not Qualify For Jobless Benefits
In the United States, unemployment benefits provide jobless Americans with a weekly payout to help keep the household afloat.
However, the Department of Labor unemployment rules requires Americans who are able and available to qualify for unemployment.
Unfortunately, American workers diagnosed with COVID-19 will not meet the criteria for unemployment insurance.
Unemployment benefits are a type of social insurance paid on a weekly basis. The law requires Americans to be “able and available” for work to qualify for assistance.
The Labor department clarified that unemployment insurance “is not intended to be used as paid sick leave”. According to Michele Evermore, Labor senior policy advisor for unemployment insurance, recovery is not the same as unemployment.
She said that individuals who test positive for Covid-19 and stay home to recover and isolate themselves from others aren’t eligible for jobless benefits.
Not Always the Case
Previously, American workers could turn to government programs to secure jobless aid. The CARES Act provided temporary relief insurance to sick Americans.
It also helped cover other American workers who won’t fall under regular employment status. This includes gig workers and part-timers. In both cases, the two groups do not qualify for unemployment assistance.
However, some of the measures included in the CARES Act are now dried up. The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance expired during the latest Labor Day.
Other measures such as a moratorium for rent as well as student debt relief remain hot debate topics in Congress. With the lack of new action, these measures have already expired or will expire soon.
What About Those Without COVID?
Meanwhile, American Workers who test positive for COVID will no longer qualify for jobless benefits. However, those who tested negative and asked to isolate themselves may receive some benefits at some point.
According to Evermore, American workers who will need to isolate themselves due to COVID exposure will have to miss work.
However, they can still collect unemployment benefits during their quarantine. Depending on the applicable state law, any worker who has to quarantine can remain eligible for unemployment.
Watch the KING 5 news video reporting that workers fired over vaccine mandate may qualify for unemployment:
What do you think about the rules that prevent American workers diagnosed with COVID from collecting unemployment? Do you find that fair?
Let us know what you think. Share your comments below.
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