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Illinois Unemployment/called back to work/asthma

By Terry Savage on June 30, 2020 | Wild Card

Hi Terry:

My son worked in a small restaurant in the city as a bartender/server/manager. The restaurant shut due to Covid and he is collecting unemployment. The owner is reopening and asked him to return to work . They will open at 25% capacity. He has asthma and hard to wear a mask for 8-10 hours straight. He doesn’t feel comfortable going back to work at this point with the covid exposure. If he declines to come back right now, will he lose his unemployment for refusing to go back to work?
I look forward to your reply.

Terry Says

The law is murky on this. Here’s what it says in the IDES Q&A:

What if I quit my job because I am generally concerned over the COVID-19 virus?
An individual who leaves work voluntarily without a good reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving UI. The eligibility of an individual in this situation will depend on whether the facts of his or her case demonstrate the individual had a good reason for quitting and that the reason was attributable to the employer. An individual generally has a duty to make a reasonable effort to work with his or her employer to resolve whatever issues have caused the individual to consider quitting.

And here is a link to that Q&A paper.

It will be up to IDES to decide, perhaps based on a physician’s certification – -and also on whether the employer can make special arrangements to protect the employee.

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