Boost with unemployment creates unique challenge for employers, workers

Published: May. 4, 2020 at 9:48 PM CDT
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With the unemployment benefits currently available for people out of work due to COVID-19 comes a problem for employers as some employees don't want to come back, at least not right now.

Added to that situation are concerns over health for high-risk employees.

With the $600 boost from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act added to other benefits, some employees are in a situation where they're collecting much more in unemployment aid than they would in a typical paycheck.

If you took the weekly benefits available for many right now and stretched it over a year, it could reach a salary of more than $50,000.

"It creates this new dynamic. People want to be terminated, furloughed or laid off right now, and they can actually make more money," says Attorney Eric Metz with Wichita law firm Triplett Woolf Garretson, LLC.

Metz says this unintended consequence creates a unique challenge for employers and employees. But those who choose not to return to work when given the opportunity to do so could lose their benefits. This could become an issue, even if your doctor recommends that you stay home and you can prove your concern about returning to work is health related and not due to a financial boost.

Even with a doctor's recommendation, attorneys warn you could still lose your unemployment benefits for not going back to work if given the chance. If you find yourself in such a situation, Metz recommends seeking legal advice to explore your options.