Maine health care staff won’t get unemployment benefits if they refuse vaccine

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Maine health care workers who face firing for defying COVID vaccine requirements will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, AP reports.

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why it matters: The notice comes because hospitals in Maine have labor shortages partly related to the state’s vaccine mandate. One of the largest hospitals in the state has had to turn away trauma and pediatric patients and close down an entire department, According to a local CBS affiliate.

  • The state is allowing medical exemptions, but not on religious or philosophical grounds, a provision upheld by a US district judge on Wednesday. per Reuters.
  • “Refusal to comply with an employer’s policies, including a health or safety policy, typically disqualifies a person from being eligible to receive unemployment benefits,” Maine Department of Labor spokeswoman Jessica Picard told the AP.

yes but: Exceptions are still possible and may be given on a case-by-case basis, Picard noted.

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Noteworthy: Vaccination rates among Maine health care workers rose sharply in September, according to state data.

big picture: the state has seen downward trend in COVID cases in recent weeks.

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