Unemployment Insurance During COVID-19 Pandemic
WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex M. Azar II, declared a public health emergency for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I declared a State of Emergency in Executive Order 2020-01D; and
WHEREAS, in addition to a series of Executive Orders, the Director of Health has issued a series of special orders under Ohio Revised Code 3701.13 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect life, health, and welfare of Ohioans; and
WHEREAS, much of our state's current success in the fight against COVID-19 is because Ohioans naturally choose to put each other first and voluntarily adopt safe, new habits; and
WHEREAS, on April 30, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health Director signed the Director's Stay Safe Ohio Order that reopened businesses, with exceptions; and
WHEREAS, Ohioans must return to work in a safe environment, to restore livelihoods and reboot our state's economy; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is an unprecedented and continuously evolving threat facing Ohio, and the health and safety of Ohioans remain our top priority.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike DeWine, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, specifically implied police powers of the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution of the State of Ohio, Article II, Section 5, and the laws of this State, do hereby order and direct that:
When an employee is called back to work in the same position prior to the Director of Health's special order, there is a resumption that the position is considered "suitable work" under the Ohio Unemployment Insurance program. Individuals who refuse to return to work without good cause in order to obtain additional unemployment benefits may have their eligibility negatively impacted. During the period of the COVID-19 state of emergency, the following constitutes "good cause" for refusing suitable work:
1. A medical professionals's recommendation that an individual not return to work because he/she falls into a category that is considered "high risk" for contracting COVID-19 by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the employer cannot offer teleworking options; or
2. The employee is sixty-five years of age or older; or
3. Tangible evidence of a health and safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, and wearing protective equipment; or
4. Potential exposure to COVID-19 and subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional; or
5. Staying home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.
Consistent with the waiver of work search requirements for all other unemployment programs during the period of the COVID-19 state of emergency, the work search requirements for individuals eligible for state-federal Extended Benefits pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.301 will also be waived.
I signed this Executive Order on June 16, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio, and it shall take effect immediately and remain in full force for the duration of the state of emergency declared in Executive Order 2020-1D, unless rescinded by me before the date.
Mike DeWine, Governor
Frank LaRose, Secretary of State