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Iowa Workforce Development Announces Guidance on Unemployment Benefits

Iowans Who Refuse to Return to Work Without Good Reason When Recalled Will Lose Eligibility to Unemployment Benefits
DES MOINES – Iowans who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances including:
• 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.

Employees in any of these positions are strongly encouraged to work with their employer in the best way to handle the situation to return to work.

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 claimant from receiving benefits, including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit of $600/weekly. An employee who is recalled on a part-time basis may continue to be eligible for benefits depending on the amount of wages they earn. They should continue filing their weekly claims and report the gross wages they earned each week. Additionally, the self-employed should continue to report their weekly gross income as part of their continuing claims as they return to work.

“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,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “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.”

Businesses should report employees who refuse to return to work without good reason or who quit their jobs as soon as possible to IWD at https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/job-offer-decline-form-employers

While an employee may have temporarily earned more in benefits than they earn in wages, the CARES Act outlines serious consequences for fraud, including fines, confinement and ineligibility for future unemployment benefits until all fraudulent claims and fines have been repaid should an individual continue to claim benefits they are not otherwise eligible for because of a change in their employment situation.

For more information, please visit www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov