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Virginia businesses encouraged to report employees who refuse to come back to work

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Posted at 11:29 AM, Jun 16, 2020

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Employees not wanting to come back to work has been a problem for business owners around the state, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

Randy Thomas, the President of the Vanguard Brew Pub and Distillery, said he is frustrated.

This past weekend, he said he got a special permit to hold an outside concert at his venue in Hampton.

“I had to turn down the band because I don't feel confident that I have the staff to man the event. That's a huge revenue loss to me,” said Thomas.

His unique facility is large and with a brewery, distillery and food service. He said getting employees to come back to work has been tough as some are making more on unemployment.

The Virginia Employment Commission has also identified this as big problem. They have promptly put a link on their website encouraging employers to report employees for not returning to work.

Business owners say some employees do not want to return to work because they say they are taking care of sick family members, don't feel safe or have a lack of childcare.

According to the VEC, if you are asked to return and are given your job back, you are no longer allowed to collect unemployment insurance.

VEC Representative Joyce Fogg said unless a person is working fewer hours, they don’t qualify for the unemployment insurance or the pandemic assistance. However, she said a person qualifies for partial unemployment benefits then they can qualify for the additional $600 in pandemic assistance if they are working fewer hours. Each case is different, but she said if you qualify for at least $1 in unemployment insurance, then you qualify for the additional $600.

Fogg said the pandemic assistance will end July 25. She also said people receiving unemployment insurance need to fill out their weekly certification on the website, which asks them how much money they made for the week.

She encouraged business owners to report people refusing to come back to work. She said the VEC has heard from hundreds of business owners experiencing this problem.

Another major issue is the backlog in appeals in employment insurance.

Fogg said there are 80,000 cases waiting to be heard. She said last year they only had a total of 59,000 employment insurance appeal cases.

She said they have hired additional people to hear the cases in an effort to alleviate the backlog, but she said it will be a while and mentioned that people do not receive benefits while waiting for their appeal to be heard.

She also said if the VEC overpays someone, the individual will be asked to return the money.

They stress that if your employer requests that you come back to work and you are unable to do so, you are able to appeal at any time; however, the process many take a while.

As for Thomas at the Vanguard, he said they are now dealing with a beef recall that is increasing their raw material costs and are waiting to learn what the new rules and regulations will be for the additional phases.

“My biggest frustration is being told on a Tuesday what to expect to happen by Friday. That is not the way businesses operate,” said Thomas.

He said they are grateful to reopen, but says the struggle continues as they try to operate in the new normal.

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