What’s Next for Unvaccinated, Unemployed Healthcare Workers?

As numbers of hospitals and health systems have mandated COVID-19 vaccination continues to grow as a condition of employment, questions also grow about what’s next for a trove of unvaccinated healthcare workers who’ve been terminated or resigned.  According to the American Hospital Association, more than 2,500 hospitals and health systems in the U.S. had begun mandatory vaccination policies for employees as of Sept. 27. 

While many healthcare organizations have reported high compliance to the vaccination mandates, some larger systems are still suspending or parting ways with hundreds of unvaccinated workers.  Many health systems leave the door open for terminated employees to reapply for their positions if they get vaccinated.

In most states, workers are eligible for unemployment benefits if they are laid off, quit a job for a “good cause,” or are fired for a reason other than “misconduct,” employment experts told CNBC. Failure to comply with an employer’s vaccination mandate would likely be deemed misconduct. Most healthcare workers who opt not to get vaccinated will not be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

However, some states — such as Washington and New York — have said they may make exceptions.