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Workplace Vaccine Mandates Restricted

Friday, October 29, 2021
Yesterday's special session was not just about redistricting. Several hundred protestors flooded the halls of the Iowa Capitol during the special session, holding rallies and chanting “ legalize freedom” in their push to pass legislation to make it illegal for businesses to require employees get COVID-19 vaccinations.  
In response, the Legislature passed a law that would:
  • Require an employer to waive a Covid-19 vaccination requirement if the employee provides a statement that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine would cause harm to their health or conflicts with their religion. This requirement would apply to all employers in the state, including businesses and organizations that provide health services to Iowans.
  • A person who is discharged from employment because they did not get a required COVID-19 vaccine would now be allowed to get unemployment benefits. The bill also makes sure that the employer's unemployment contribution rates are not changed because of the worker getting unemployment benefits. 
  • The bill takes effect immediately when signed by the Governor. 
Protesters did not support the bill; they felt it did not go far enough. Their chants changed to “Kill the Bill.” The House State Government Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Kaufmann did say he was open to talking about more changes in this area when session returns in January 2022. 

What does this mean to you?

It's hard to say how this change will impact Iowans. If you are concerned that coworkers or people that support you will be unvaccinated, this may be very concerning. It makes it more difficult for a business to require vaccinations, so it may be more difficult for a business to protect you if they cannot require their workers get vaccinated. If you are someone with a health condition and are concerned what vaccination may do to that health condition, you may be happy to know that your employer cannot require you to take the vaccine if it could impact your health.
As we have said with all things COVID-19, it's best to get your advice from your doctor or health care provider to find out how this will affect you and what you need to do to stay healthy.

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