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Thousands of Iowans remain hopeful the Iowa legislature will address COVID vaccine mandates today during the special legislative session. However, if the proposed solution is a bill likely to be filed in the Iowa House, it may miss the mark.

The bill relates to COVID vaccination requirements by employers and unemployment insurance. The bill allows for employers to mandate the COVID vaccine, but reportedly states the employer must waive the requirement if the employee or the employee’s parent or legal guardian (if a minor) requests a waiver on one of two grounds:

  1. A statement that receiving the injection would injure the health and well-being of the employee or a person residing with the employee.
  2. A statement that receiving the vaccine would conflict with the tenets and practices of a religion of which the employee is an adherent or member.

An individual discharged from employment for refusing the vaccine will not be disqualified from unemployment benefits on account of the discharge.

If an employee is discharged, the contribution rate and unemployment experience of any employer employing the employee or an employer that previously employed the employee other than the employer that so discharged the employee, shall be unaffected by such discharge.

The department of workforce development is prohibited from imposing any penalty on or taking any other action otherwise permitted under Code chapter 96 against any employer employing the employee, or an employer that previously employed the employee other than the employer that so discharged the employee, as a result of such discharge.

Author: Jacob Hall