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If employees are fired for not getting vaccinated, is unemployment pay an option?

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“Anyone can file for unemployment insurance if they find themselves unemployed. What we look for in that, are if they eligible for unemployment based upon federal and state law?” Unemployment insurance director Darren Brostrom said.

The mandate for healthcare workers to get vaccinated is quickly approaching.

Sanford Health announced that all employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1. Shortly after that, CHI St. Alexius Hospital announced it would require the same.

Members of the community — and nurses — have voiced their disagreement and protested outside the hospitals.

The question now remains if they will receive unemployment if terminated because they did not get vaccinated.

”We really can’t prejudicate claims. It’s not a yes or no answer to anybody that’s impacted by a mandatory vaccination because we expected that it will be broad across several industry types,” Bostrom said.

Brostrom said the first step is to file the unemployment claim and then it will be determined if someone is eligible.

“We’ll look at those claims just like we look at any other claims. We’ll ask questions that are relevant to the situation. We talk about finding the employee’s policies are they applying those policies consistently,” Bostrom said.

Unemployment benefits will last for up to 26 weeks and Rostram says the average time for unemployment is just 18 weeks.

“There are no current extensions to unemployment insurance those extensions ended with the pandemic programs ending,” Bostrom said.

The Job Service office has about 117 employees that handle unemployment claims and the average turnaround can be between 14 and 21 days.

“We are one of the three states that met federal time standards,” Bostrom said

When asked what disqualifies someone from unemployment Brostrom explained:

“Anything from criminal activity to theft from an employer, that sort of thing,” Bostrom said.

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