Unemployment Available for Those Refusing Unsafe Work

Workers who are refusing to work because a site that “is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19” will now be eligible for unemployment benefits, according to the Labor Department’s guidance letter. “This includes, but is not limited to, those related to facial mask-wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.”

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a program letter to state unemployment agencies Thursday, February 25, 2021, as the Biden administration ensures benefits are available for people who decline work that would jeopardize their health.

Labor Department officials expect it to take until late March, possibly longer, for state agencies to implement the policy changes.