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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 18, 2020 10:18 AM
From: Representative Joshua D. Kail
To: All House members
Subject: Vulnerable Workers Protection Act
I am preparing to introduce legislation to amend the Unemployment Compensation Law to provide more clarity for claimants and employers about what constitutes good cause to refuse work or compelling cause to quit work – while remaining eligible for UC benefits.

My legislation would provide temporary provisions related to COVID-19 to ensure that:

· A claimant can remain eligible for UC benefits if the claimant who quit or refused work provides documentation from a health care provider that they (or someone they live with) is at a substantially greater risk for serious medical complications from COVID-19. This would apply to claimants whose employer cannot offer work that does not require the employee to be in close proximity to the people.

· A claimant will remain eligible if the claimant quit or refused work as the result of the employer's (willful, repeated or grossly negligent) failure to comply with state or federal workplace safety standards intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

· A claimant, who suffered discrimination or retaliation as the result of informing the employer about the employer's failure to comply with a state or federal workplace safety standard intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, will remain eligible if they quit or refuse work as the result of the discrimination or retaliation.

My legislation will also clarify that general concern about the spread of COVID-19 will not be good cause to quit or refuse work. Likewise, it will ensure that claimants who quit or refuse work without any attempts to communicate with the employer (about a medical condition or a workplace safety issue), or who fail to provide appropriate documentation of a medical condition or safety issue, will not be eligible if they quit or refuse work.

This bill is intended to protect those workers who truly have good cause to quit or refuse work, and I hope you will join me as a cosponsor.

Introduced as HB2557