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Bill proposed to expand unemployment benefits to Oklahomans fired for vaccine refusal

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 13:00:37-05

TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma lawmaker proposed a bill to help workers get unemployment benefits if they get fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Specifically, the bill would expand the existing unemployment benefits to include those who have been let go over a vaccine mandate. Under current law, employees fired from their job are looked at on a case-by-case basis. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission then determines if they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

However, Senate Bill 1157, proposed by State Senator Nathan Dahm, requires those benefits to be provided for all workers who were fired starting from September first of last year.

Employers are currently able to fire an employee based on their vaccination status. President Biden's vaccine-or-test mandate for health care workers and companies with 100 employees or more is currently being challenged in federal court.

Dahm, who is currently running for US Senate, says this bill would provide financial support for those who were fired or placed on unpaid leave for not getting vaccinated.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we have healthy workers that are wanting to work that are being forced out of work,” Sen. Dahm said.

Similar bills have already become law in states like Florida, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee.

Meanwhile, many health experts say mandates are the best way to convince people to get the vaccine. They also say it’s the best way to end the pandemic.

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