Biden Allows Americans to Refuse Work and Remain on Unemployment Benefits
President Joe Biden made an unexpected move on Friday for job seekers on unemployment benefits. He signed comprehensive executive actions giving more rights to American workers. Workers who take a job may refuse to work if they discover that the work environment is toxic for their health.
Many workers have underlying medical conditions that make it challenging to accept jobs necessary to the American economy. As an example, consider being a cashier at Wal-Mart or working for a retailer.
However, with competition tight for jobs, a worker may consider such employment and then have a change of heart if the conditions for OSHA and worker-safety are not met.
President Biden would let those workers continue receiving unemployment benefits until another position is available, like working for home.
Previously, many state labor board representatives told their residents in 2020 that if they refused to return to work after they received a job offer, they would no longer receive unemployment insurance.
One such state is South Dakota, which also declined the former president's offer of $300 in additional compensation for the Lost Wage Assistance act.
The Right to Refuse Work
Currently, job seekers who refuse to accept suitable employment lose access to unemployment benefits. The extraordinary move is part of the Biden's Administration's full-governmental effort to provide emergency economic relief to the American people.
The Department of Labor will consider and establish the full guidelines, clarifying how workers on federal unemployment benefits have the guaranteed option to refuse employment while still qualifying for unemployment compensation.
This has been a gray area for unemployment benefits for a long while. The Trump administration never said if workers could refuse employment for health reasons and still maintain benefits; the decision was always left up to the individual states. By enacting Biden's plan, it would clarify benefits on a national level.
Previous Job's Report
After the outbreak, approximately 16 million Americans are still receiving some type of unemployment compensation.
Biden has received a precarious national employment landscape. Since the inauguration, another 900,000 people have filed for initial unemployment benefits. Newly established claims are up this past week than last week's job report.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for November 2020, the unemployment rate went up to 6.7 percent, which is 3.2 points higher than the same period in 2019.
On average, since the pandemic, 695,000 people have filed weekly unemployment claims. December 2019 was particularly brutal, with 140,000 jobs lost during the lame-duck presidency.
Biden is looking to help people who lost their job through no fault of their own. Instead of the average weekly unemployment boost being $300, it would increase to $400 weekly until the end of September 2021.
The administration may consider going past September 2021 as the need arises. The Department of Labor estimates that the extra $400 in income will replace 86 percent of workers' wages.
Presently, workers were slated to lose their benefits at the end of March. Because full employment is related to vaccine distribution, many workers will not find satisfactory jobs in the next eleven weeks.
President Biden has promised 100 million doses of vaccines in the next 100 days. It could take up to the end of the year for every American who wants a vaccine to be inoculated.
However, he did not inherit a vaccine distribution plan from the Trump administration. Unfortunately, Trump's health officials did not have a full contingency plan to vaccinate the American public. Many doses remain in manufacturing.
Many economists expect full employment by the end of 2021, which could be seen as a difficult challenge, with other economists having realistic expectations of a 2022 recovery.
The nation's airlines have lost several billions of dollars in revenues. The federal government may continue to prop up the travel industry.
American Airlines reported a loss of $7 billion for 2020, and Southwest Airlines has also lost a few billion dollars. The travel industry is in dire straits. Expectations are that they will not see 2019 revenues until 2022 to 2023. More transportation employees may lose their jobs.
Economists believe that the new administration may have unemployment compensation triggers, where benefits would continue based upon the economic conditions.