CCC + TCC + Emptech are now Experian Employer Services. Learn More

The unemployment industry has long awaited any official moves towards determining how individual states will handle unemployment claims associated with discharged employees refusing to be vaccinated. Iowa and Tennessee are the first states to pass legislation regarding vaccination requirements and unemployment eligibility.

As of November 4th, 2021, President Joe Biden mandated that all businesses with over 100 employees are to “ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis.” But given that unemployment eligibility is determined at the state government level, we knew that every state would be taking an individual take on how they will be handling these claims.

Iowa – HF 902

On November 1st, Governor Kim Reynolds signed HF 902 into the Iowa state legislature. HF 902 introduces four new sections of the legislature to Iowa Code Section 94. The first section requires that an employee can waive the vaccination requirement with a submitted waiver if they:

1. Provide a statement “that receiving the vaccine would be injurious to the health and well-being of the employee or an individual residing with the employee.”
2. Provide a statement “that receiving the vaccine would conflict with the tenets and practices of a religion of which the employee is an adherent or member.”

The legislation continues by noting that “an individual who is discharged from employment for refusing to receive a vaccination against COVID-19…shall not be disqualified for benefits on account of such discharge.”

But employers should not be concerned yet. The last applicable section of the new legislature lays out a plan to relieve employers of any charges associated with employees who refuse to be vaccinated. It specifically states that “If an employee is discharged from employment for refusing to receive a vaccination against COVID-19…the contribution rate and unemployment experience of any employer employing the employee, or an employer that previously employed the employee other than the employer that so discharged the employee, shall be unaffected by such discharge. The department shall not impose any penalty on, or take any other action otherwise permitted under this chapter against, any employer employing the employee or an employer that previously employed the employee other than the employer that so discharged the employee, as a result of such discharge.”

What does this mean for employers in Iowa?

This is great news, as this new legislation does apply to both taxed and reimbursable employers in Iowa. It is taking the financial tax burden off the employer, allowing the employer and employee to both benefit without having to take the fault on either side.

Tennessee – HB 9077

On November 12th, 2021, Governor Bill Lee signed HB 9077 into the Tennessee state legislature. The legislation amends Title 14 of the Tennessee Code to include six new chapters regarding the state’s response to COVID-19 mandates.

The first sections outline the state’s stance on COVID-19 governmental mandates and declare that “Consistent with our constitutionally recognized and inalienable right of liberty, every person within this state is and must remain free to choose or to decline to be vaccinated against COVID-19 without penalty or threat of penalty… This title is in addition and supplemental to all other provisions of state law; wherever the application of this title conflicts with the application of other provisions of state law, this title prevails.”

Chapter 2 – Uniform Standards continues by noting that “A private business, governmental entity, school, or local education agency shall not compel or otherwise take an adverse action against a person to compel the person to provide proof of vaccination if the person objects to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for any reason.”

All the legislation noted above is intended to support the declaration regarding unemployment benefits noted in Chapter 3: “Unemployment benefits shall not be reduced or denied under title 50, chapter 7 to an otherwise eligible claimant who left employment due to the claimant’s failing or refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

What does this mean for employers in Tennessee?

Given Tennessee’s clear stance on further COVID-19 matters, it is assumed that employers should consider alternative methods to discharging employees based on vaccination status.

What does this mean for employers and the state of vaccination legislation in unemployment across the country?

It is important to start with the fact that states are legally allowed to determine unemployment eligibility on their terms. We cannot determine how state legislation will be impacted by federal mandates.
It is important to note, though, that once one or two states pass legislation regarding a matter, most states will begin to follow suit. Check back with Experian Employer Services for updates.


Contact CCC to see how we can save your organization time and money.
Contact our Sales Team
(800) 207-6926

Featured Videos

View All Videos

Latest News

Close

Sales

    Your Name:*

    Title:

    Company Name:*

    Company Address:

    Company City:

    Company State:

    Company Zip:

    Number of Employees:

    Your Email:*

    Phone Number:*

    Fax Number:

    Check the boxes below if you wish to receive information on any of the following:

    Unemployment Cost ControlTax Credits & Incentives (WOTC)Employment / Wage Verification

    Your Message:

    Employment & Income Verfication

      Your Name:*

      Title:

      Company Name:*

      Company Address:

      Company City:

      Company State:

      Company Zip:

      Number of Employees:

      Your Email:*

      Phone Number:*

      Fax Number:

      Your Message: