Unemployment Tip: Voluntary Quit for Medical Reasons

DecisionHR’s unemployment vendor, Employers Edge, has laid out some detailed information regarding voluntary employee quit for medical reasons. Read on to learn about the ins and outs of medical quits.

Health and medical reasons account for a significant number of voluntary separations from employment. Most states consider certain medical reasons to be “good cause” for quitting employment, and a claimant may be entitled to benefits if they quit under these circumstances. In addition, while usually related to the health of the employee themselves, medical reasons resulting in a quit for “good cause” can also be related to the health condition of a spouse or dependent child (in certain states).

As with all unemployment regulations, the specific rules vary by state. However, below is a list of the most common issues states will consider for medical quits:

If the employer requires it in their written policies, the worker should inform the employer of the adverse health condition preventing them from performing their job.
The medical reason should be substantiated by a written notice from a medical doctor. The notice should specifically state whether work is disallowed, or if work can be performed with specific restrictions, and for how long those restrictions apply.
The worker generally must give the employer the opportunity to make reasonable accommodations to meet the restrictions specified by the doctor. If work is disallowed for a certain period, most states will ask if a medical leave was available and, if so, if the worker requested one prior to quitting.

If any of these conditions were not met, there may be good grounds for protesting this type of claim as these are the most common criteria that must be met in order for the quit to be considered for good cause. For that reason, it is very important that you provide answers to each of the questions asked by your Claims Specialist with regard to the circumstances involved in a quit for health or medical reasons. They will help you determine if the state is likely to grant or deny benefits to the claimant based on the above criteria.

If all of the above conditions were met by the claimant, they will likely be considered eligible to collect unemployment. However, some states will still grant relief of charges to the employer.

The following states have provisions in their laws to allow for relief of charges to the employer when a claimant quits for legitimate health or medical reasons:

AL AK AZ AR CO
DE FL HI ID IL
IN IA KS KY ME
MA MN MS NE NV
NH NJ NM OK OR
PA SC SD TX UT
VA WA WV WI WY

*Note: These provisions do not apply to reimbursing employers

In the states that do not allow for relief of charges to the employer in the case of a medical quit, there still may be reason to protest the unemployment claim. All claimants filing for unemployment must meet multiple eligibility criteria before they can actually collect benefits. In the case of voluntary quits for health or medical reasons, the claimant must first be found to have quit for substantiated good cause. Next, they must demonstrate that they are able, available and actively seeking work. This second criteria is where many employers may still get (at least partial) relief of charges in the states not listed above.

In many cases, if a former employee quits because their health or medical condition prevented them from being able to perform their job, they will likely not be able to accept or perform other work either. When that is the case, they are not meeting all of the state’s requirements in order to collect unemployment benefits, and they will be denied benefits until they are able to meet all of those requirements. Your Claims Specialist will help you determine whether this is a likely scenario on a case by case basis.

Remember the guidelines listed above represent the most common considerations with regard to voluntary quits for health or medial reasons. However, each state has its own specific guidelines for determining both claimant eligibility and employer chargeability on these types of claims.

If you have any questions, please call DecisionHR at 1-888-828-5511 and ask to speak with your assigned Human Resources Business Partner.