Professional Service Agreement

Unemployment Expanded to Include Refusal to Work Due to COVID-19 Health and Safety Issues

March 04, 2021

In response to a directive from President Biden, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued new guidance to state unemployment insurance agencies that expands the number of instances in which workers may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) related to COVID-19 workplace health and safety issues. The new guidance expands eligibility to three categories of workers: workers receiving unemployment benefits who had their continued regular unemployment benefits’ claims denied after they refused to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite not in compliance with coronavirus health and safety standards; workers laid off, or who have had their work hours reduced, as a direct result of the pandemic; and school employees working without a contract or reasonable assurance of continued employment who face reduced paychecks and no assurance of continued pay when schools are closed due to coronavirus.