Gray_AreaIf an employee calls into work due to illness, (for themselves or a minor child), even if they are on a final warning for attendance, and you terminate them they will likely qualify for benefits. Why? Because the state will view the final absences as being an ‘unavoidable circumstance.’ Almost all state use the final incident to determine whether or not someone will be paid UI benefits. If that final incident were due to illness, that would not be considered ‘misconduct connected with the work.’

So how do employers protect themselves in these types of situations? One suggestion is to write verbiage on the final warning for attendance that any further absences will require a Dr’s note. Many times, this will deter an employee from calling in sick when they really are not. If an employee does call in sick after being placed on a final warning due to attendance, we do not recommend termination at that time. Having another ‘last chance’ counseling session where you advise they are not being terminated because it was due to illness, they are getting one last chance, will always show the state that the employer acted in good faith prior to termination.

In the eyes of the state, it works much better to terminate someone when the final incident is due to circumstances that were within the claimant’s control, such as oversleeping, traffic, etc. Always keep in mind that a termination due to illness will almost always qualify someone for UI benefits.


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