DES MOINES, Iowa – As the state’s economy reopens, Iowans who were temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus are being told to return to work “or else.”
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) says employees who refused to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for the following circumstances:
• If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms;
• If you have recovered but it caused medical complications 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.
IWD says refusing to return to work when recalled for any other reason, or in an attempt to continue to draw unemployment benefits will be considered a "voluntary quit" which would disqualify a person from receiving benefits and that includes the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit of $600 a week.
"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,” says IWD Director Beth Townsend. “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."
Employees who are recalled on a part-time basis may continue to be eligible for benefits depending on the amount of wages they earn. IWD says they should continue filing their weekly claims and report the gross wages they earned each week. The self-employed should also continue to report their weekly gross income as part of their continuing claims as they return to work.
Businesses with employees who refuse to return to work without good reason or who quit their jobs as soon as possible can report them to IWD at https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/job-offer-decline-form-employers.