State Senator George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, has signed as a co-sponsor of legislation allowing unemployment insurance to those who are unemployed because they refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
S.7403 was introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Alexis Weik, R-Patchogue, two days after a state deadline for healthcare workers to take a COVID-19 vaccine or quit their jobs. State law states that those who voluntarily leave their jobs are not eligible for unemployment.
“New York State recently required that certain employees, including all employees of healthcare facilities, receive the coronavirus vaccine on a certain date or be made redundant. “ Weik wrote in his legislative rationale. “Unlike most other sectors of the workforce, these employees do not have the option of receiving regular COVID tests instead of receiving the coronavirus vaccine. These people must choose between making a personal decision about health care and their career. Thousands of New Yorkers – most of whom have bravely been on the frontlines of the pandemic for months to care for the sick and vulnerable – are now out of work due to a New York state warrant . “
Healthcare workers leaving their jobs due to the vaccination mandate could number a few hundred thousand, although the state reported an increase in vaccination rates among healthcare workers earlier this week.
As of Tuesday, the state’s hospital emergency response data system noted that 97% of UPMC Chautauqua workers had been vaccinated; 90% to Brooks-TLC; and 84% at the Westfield Memorial.
Some of the 51 of the 573 staff who were not vaccinated last week at Brooks TLC were linked to the obstetrics department, while a UPPMC obstetrics nurse Chautauqua told a rally on Tuesday that seven people in the maternity hospital are no longer working because of the state mandate.
Governor Kathy Hochul said that as of Wednesday morning, 87% of hospital staff were fully vaccinated, 93% reported in Chautauqua County and only 75% in Cattaraugus County. The percentage of nursing home staff receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is 92%. The percentage of staff in adult care facilities receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is 89%.
Earlier this year, Borrello introduced a law (S6788) with the support of several Senate Republicans to end the state’s participation in the federal pandemic unemployment compensation program and in the United States’ compensation programs. mixed-income unemployment because he feared that additional unemployment insurance would help convince people to stay at home rather than re-enter the workforce.
Making healthcare workers eligible for unemployment could be seen as encouraging workers to stay out of the workforce, but Borrello said workers may already be eligible for unemployment if they say they fear contracting COVID- 19.
“This is blatant hypocrisy, in my opinion”, Borrello said when contacted on Thursday. “On the one hand, you have people who are made redundant and who cannot collect unemployment. Yet we still allow people to quit their jobs and collect unemployment for just about any reason, even if there is a job for them. Even now, with immediate availability of a vaccine, you can quit your job and collect unemployment and say it’s because you’re worried about catching COVID. “