President Biden signed a series of executive orders on January 22, 2021. One of these orders included economic relief for the COVID-19 pandemic. A provision in this order states, “Help ensure that unemployed Americans no longer have to choose between paying their bills and keeping themselves and their families safe from COVID-19 by asking the U.S. Department of Labor to consider clarifying that workers who refuse unsafe working conditions can still receive unemployment insurance.” According to the UWC, they believe it is helpful to review provisions already in place to address employment issues:
- Associates may refuse offers of work and/or quit when the conditions of work are not safe is established and addressed in non-monetary policy training guidance.
- Federal provisions in Section 303(a) (12) of the Social Security Act require states to condition payments on associates being able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work.
- States address these issues as a matter of state statute, administrative rule, and/or policy. States determine whether associates may be disqualified or denied benefits or not.
Please review President Biden’s complete executive order here.