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You Ask. We Answer. Can I collect unemployment if I have safety concerns at my workplace?; What about summer rentals?

Send your question to share61@fox61.com. We'll air your question and an answer to your question on-air and online.

HARTFORD, Conn — Question:

Nancy wrote to FOX61 saying, “I am considered vulnerable and my workplace is reopening soon. I have safety concerns because of my work environment. If I choose to stay home until everything is more stable, maybe phase 2, can I still collect unemployment?”

Answer:

FOX61 reached out to the Department of Labor for this one, and we do want to remind you that each claim is assessed on an individual basis.

For some general guidance, this is directly from the DOL:

“Some people that have been called back to work, but have a legitimate pandemic-related reason for not being able to accept the offered position or a return-to-work offer may be eligible for PUA. The PUA program is for those that are self-employed, and also for those that meet the category just described. PUA eligible individuals must be found ineligible for state benefits to qualify for PUA. If they have been found eligible for state benefits due to a lack of work (employer laid them off) and receiving benefits, but now the employer offers their job back, and they are “able and available to work”, but turn it down, they will likely be disqualified and deemed ineligible for state benefits. The way we would know if the employer reports/protests/appeals to DOL.

However, during the appeal process, the employee does have the opportunity to due process as well, and if they have a legitimate pandemic-related reason for not being able to accept the offered position, they may be eligible for PUA.

PUA eligible individuals must be able and available to work unless they cannot work because of the specific circumstances that relate to COVID-19, including:

  • The individual, household member, or one under their care has been diagnosed
  • A child or other under the individual’s care is unable to attend school or another

facility due to closure

  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of an official public

quarantine, has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, or their

place of employment has been closed

  • The individual was scheduled to start work and the job is no longer available
  • The individual has become “the breadwinner” or major support for a household

because the head of the household has died

  • The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19.”

Question:

Sue asks, “I am wondering if there is any update available about the reopening of timeshares/summer rentals in CT? I feel they should be treated differently than hotels and should be opening sooner rather than later.”

Answer:

As of right now, they are still being categorized with hotels and motels. Governor Lamont’s executive order that prohibits hotels and motels from accepting any reservations other than for essential workers remains in place. The Governor said he didn’t want people visiting Connecticut from other states for vacation. However, we were told that the State would be reassessing the situation in the next month or so. We hope to have more guidance then.

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