The CARES Act & Work Refusals in Iowa

By April 28, 2020August 7th, 2020CARES Act, COVID-19

The state advises that individuals who were temporarily laid off as a result of COVID-19, but refuse to return to work when recalled, will lose their unemployment benefits. However, the state provides the below exceptions to this disqualification but highly encourages individuals in any of the below situations to work with their employer in the best way to handle return to work.

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms;
  • If you have recovered but it caused medical complications thus rendering you unable to perform essential job duties;
  • If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons; or
  • If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19.

Moreover, the state notes that individuals who refuse to return to work when recalled and attempt to continue to draw benefits will be considered a “voluntary quit” from their position. As a result, individuals would be disqualified from benefits, as well as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) additional $600 payments.  Individuals who are recalled but are part-time may continue to be eligible depending their earned weekly wages.  These part-time individuals should continue to file their weekly claims and report any gross wages earned each week. Moreover, anyone who is self-employed should continue to report their weekly gross income as part of their claims as they return to work.

Finally, employers should report any of their associates who refuse to return to work – without good reason or who quit their jobs – as soon as possible to the state at the following website: While an associate may have temporarily earned more in benefits than they earn in wages, the CARES Act states that there are serious consequences for fraud. These consequences include fines, confinement, and ineligibility for future benefits until all fraudulent claims and their fines have been repaid. Please visit for more information.


Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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