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Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services Asks Employers to Report Employees That Refuse to Return to Work

Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A.

Employers across the State of Ohio are beginning to experience issues with convincing employees to return to work after COVID-related layoffs in March and April.  Part of the issue is the relatively generous unemployment compensation structure which included the $600 per week enhancement included in the CARES Act by the federal government.  The State of Ohio is aware of this issue and over the weekend released some information which the State hopes will remedy this situation to the extent possible.

In guidance issued over the weekend, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reminded employers that Ohio law prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause.  As a result, they want employers who have employees who refuse to return to work or quit work to inform ODJFS, so that ODJFS can make accurate eligibility determinations for unemployment benefits.

ODJFS has created an online reporting system and has asked all employers to report these occurrences through the link below (or copy and paste into your browser):

• https://secure.jfs.ohio.gov/covid-19-fraud/

This link will take you to a web page to report these employees (or other employees you expect of unemployment compensation fraud) for investigation by ODJFS.

Later this week,  ODJFS expects to release a full policy that the Department claims it will use to determine individuals’ continued eligibility for unemployment benefits after refusing to return to work. This policy will adopt the presumption that if an individual’s job is available for them to work again, they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

KWGD will continue to keep you updated on any changes and modifications and will update this page with ODJFS’s forthcoming policy.

If you have any questions, please contact Attorney Michael J. Bogdan (mbogdan@kwgd.com).

NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.

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