Five Republican-led states have extended unemployment benefits to workers who were fired for non-compliance with their companies’ vaccine mandates.
Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee have all announced they will extend jobless benefits to workers who refused to be vaccinated in spite of company mandates from their employers. The announcements have been met with mixed reactions.
Critics of the change say it is hypocritical. “These governors, who are using the unemployment insurance system in a moment of political theater to make a statement about the vaccine mandate, are the same folks who turned off unemployment benefits early for millions of workers over the summer,” Rebecca Dixon, the executive director of the left-leaning National Employment Law Project told the Washington Post.
Proponents of the amendment say the changes reinforce the idea that workers should have bodily autonomy and choose whether or not to get vaccinated. Republican leaders in many states have spoken out against vaccine mandates throughout the pandemic.
Three other GOP-led states, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Missouri, are also exploring similar changes to their jobless benefits.