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06/21/2024 07:01 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 30, 2021 02:28 PM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano and Sen. Scott E. Hutchinson
To: All Senate members
Subject: Ensuring Unemployment Compensation for Unvaccinated Workers
In the near future, we will introduce legislation to ensure that workers who are terminated or forced to resign by their employers for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination are not disqualified from UC benefits.

In a recent statement, the PA Department of Labor and Industry could not definitively say that workers in this situation would qualify for unemployment benefits.

We believe that the legislature must take action to protect individuals who practice the basic human right of deciding what goes into their body. They should not be punished by the Commonwealth and deprived of benefits as they seek other employment.  

Our bill will amend the Unemployment Compensation Law to ensure that workers fired or forced to resign for refusing a COVID-19 vaccination will qualify for full unemployment benefits. The legislation will add a new section to the law that states the following:
  • Refusal to obtain COVID-19 vaccination shall NOT be considered “willful misconduct”
  • A voluntary resignation due to an employer’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate shall be considered a cause of a “necessitous and compelling nature”
We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this important and timely legislation. 

Introduced as SB885