Ohio Advises Employers to Report Staff Who Don’t Return to Work

Data will help track COVID-19 unemployment benefits
May 5, 2020 Updated: May 5, 2020

Ohio state has advised companies to report employees who fail to show up to work as the state begins to reopen amid the CCP virus pandemic, officials said Friday.

A new website has been set up by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) which allows employers to report staff who either choose not to return to work, or have resigned amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, commonly known as the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The ODJFS policy states that if jobs are available and employees fail to return to work, they will not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

“Ohio law prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause,” the department said in a email obtained by Cleveland.com, which was circulated to companies on May 1.

“If you have employees who refuse to return to work or quit work, it’s important that you let the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) know so we can make accurate eligibility determinations,” it said in the email.

The department director, Kimberly Hall, told a press briefing Monday that companies will also be asked to communicate what efforts have been made to protect employee jobs.

“We’ve always had an administrative review process,” the director told reporters. “It basically hinges on whether there’s a good-cause reason for that refusal to return to work.”

An online form made available on the website asks a number of questions, including the name of the employee and an explanation for why the individual is no longer working.

“We will review the necessary files and records in light of the information you have provided to determine the most appropriate action,” the ODJFS states on the website.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) extended the state’s stay-at-home order late Thursday to May 29. It had been set to expire on May 1, and requires all Ohio residents to stay home, while public or private gatherings outside of a single household are prohibited.

However, the governor said many businesses would be able to reopen as part of measures to reopen the state’s economy.

“These are first steps,” DeWine said last week. “We’ve got to get moving. We’ve got to get people back to work. We’ve got to open things up.”

On Friday, DeWine said non-essential surgeries that do not require an overnight hospital stay, would be permitted, while dentists and veterinarians would be allowed to reopen.

The manufacturing, distribution and construction sectors, and general offices were permitted to reopen on Monday, DeWine said. However, he encouraged companies to keep employees telecommuting when possible.

He added that retail and other consumer services will reopen on May 12.

Ohio will require all companies to have employees practice social distancing and where that is not possible, barriers will need to be installed. Employees must perform daily health assessments, and companies will stagger or limit arrivals of employees as well as implement shift changes, DeWine said.

“The coronavirus is still here. It’s just as dangerous as it’s ever been,” the governor said.

He added that the opening of restaurants, hair salons, and gyms would come later, and that mass gatherings, like concerts and sporting events, would likely be the last to return.

Reuters contributed to this report.