Iowa legislation guarantees unemployment benefits for workers fired over vaccination mandate

Lawmakers in Iowa have passed legislation that protects unemployment benefits for individuals who are fired for refusing to comply with an employer's COVID-19 vaccination requirement, according to The Gazette.

The legislation, which passed the Iowa Senate Oct. 28, after passing the Iowa House, and is expected to receive the governor's signature, would also prohibit an employer from denying an employee's religious and medical exemptions related to vaccination.  

Under the legislation, a private business would have to waive the company's COVID-19 vaccination requirement if an employee requests a waiver and submits a statement that receiving the shot "would be injurious to the health and well-being of the employee or an individual residing with the employee." The employer would also have to waive the requirement if an employee requested a waiver and submitted a religious objection.

"This is a major step forward in protecting Iowans' freedoms and their abilities to make healthcare decisions based on what's best for themselves and their families," Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a news release. "This legislation also gives employees the assurance that they will still receive unemployment benefits despite being fired for standing up for their beliefs."

Democrats in the state legislature expressed concerns that the measure would make it possible for a worker to claim a medical exemption without backing from a physician or other accredited professional, according to The Gazette.

Read the full report here

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