Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Lindsay Mitchell: No jab, no unemployment benefit

As this country inches closer to a 'no vaccination, no job' scenario, the question on my mind - one I'm sure must have crossed others - is, will vaccinations be mandated for receipt of an unemployment (or other) benefit?

The 2011 welfare working group set up under National (not to be confused with the Labour's WEAG headed by Cindy Kiro, about to be sworn in as new GG) considered whether benefits could be used to compel parents to immunise their children. The idea was never implemented. A condition of receiving the Young Parent Payment for 16-19 year-olds stopped at, "you must also enrol your child (or children) at a medical centre or with a doctor."

Australia financially penalises parents who fail to immunse their child through reducing family benefit. That began under the Howard government. So there is a sort of precedent for linking vaccination to benefit receipt.

I've had a look around the world to see what other countries are doing in this area. Not much. Most are still grappling with mandating vaccines for certain employment sectors.

In the US unemployment benefits (which are distinct from other  Social Security benefits):

If an employer terminates you because you don’t follow its policies, it has “cause” to fire you. And if you’re fired “for cause,” you may be ineligible to claim unemployment benefits.

“Every state defines ‘for cause’ differently,” Mariel Smith, partner at law firm Hall Booth Smith, PC. “Most states have similar statutes that indicate if an employee is terminated for breaking company policy, the employee would be denied unemployment benefits.”


 Some states have made it clear that people terminated for not adhering to vaccination policies are likely precluded from receiving benefits. Oregon is one example of a state that has mandated health care, education, and government workers to get vaccinated. The head of the state Employment Department has said eligibility will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but those terminated by public or private employers for refusing to get vaccinated probably won’t be eligible.

Notice in the first sentence two incomaptible words - 'clear' followed by 'likely'. The latter negates the former. Oregon sounds more definitive. 

Three days ago:

New York state's labor department makes clear on its website that workers in health care facilities, schools and nursing homes who quit or are terminated for refusing the vaccine will be ineligible for unemployment benefits, unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption to the mandate.

 Last month in Austria:

Job seekers in Austria will risk losing some of their unemployment benefits if they turn down a job offer because it requires getting vaccinated against COVID-19, local media reported Thursday.  

Austria’s Der Standard newspaper shared a letter sent on Aug. 25 by the Austrian Labor Ministry to the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS).

It said that In the event that job hunters refuse any employment offer due to a requirement to get vaccinated, the AMS will have the right to cut their unemployment benefits.

In this case, the unemployment benefits of job seekers who do not have a medical excuse for not getting vaccinated can be blocked for up to six weeks.

This month in Canada:

 People [core public service, as well as air travel and rail employees]  who’ve had only one dose will be given 10 weeks to get their next one before they are put on unpaid leave. They won’t be allowed back at work until they’re either vaccinated or the policy is no longer in effect. Employees put on unpaid leave will generally not qualify for employment insurance benefits, say officials.

That's all a variety of phrase searches turns up presently.

For a long time New Zealanders have appeared happy to pay taxes to support people who choose not to work/ make themselves unemployable. That's the price of having a safety net, they say.

But considering how bitterly and deeply divided society here and around the world  is becoming over the decision to covid vaccinate or not, this could be when intolerance of carrying others sets in.

Those who have reluctantly immunised themselves to stay employed (and for other reasons) may feel deep resentment against those who have refused and want to be financially supported as a consequence.

There will be compulsory vaccination ramifications for the welfare state. Just how significant, remains to be seen.

Lindsay Mitchell is a welfare commentator who blogs HERE.


DeeM said...

"will vaccinations be mandated for receipt of an unemployment (or other) benefit?"
Considering Maori are over-represented in pretty much ALL benefit categories then the answer will be a clear NO. The Maori caucus will see to that.
In fact, using the warped separatist logic this government excels in, I suspect that they'll push to increase benefits, but ONLY FOR MAORI, to those who refuse vaccination on the pretext that it is even harder for them to get a job, now that the self-same government idiots have mandated vaccines across so many employment sectors.

Alexandra Corbett Dekanova said...

In communist Czechoslavakia pregnant women who did not go regulary to health checks did not get the financial support at the childbirth. Parents who did not go to regular health check including vaccination did not get children's subsidies (cash plus tax benefits) as well as parents who did not send their children to school. After communism fell all these rules were abolished as being against human rights and the situation especially in certain minority groups grew to the levels that are simply unbeareble. People having lots of children just for the benefits sake, no vaccinations, no health care and school only to go there and have cooked lunch that is given to children from poor families. In this situation we should ask where are the rights of the children and where are the rights of all taxpayers.

Alexandra Corbett Dekanova

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Communist Czechoslavakia used authoritarianism to protect the rights of children because children are part of the future adult collective. A 'public good' perhaps? You've lived it and I don't think you liked it Alexandra. So in what type of society are adults most likely to have children because they really want them? If children are wanted, the care flows from there. I believe (theoretically because I haven't such a society) one where individual responsibility is the norm. Very open to your thoughts.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

"...haven't seen such a society"