Some Texas workers could face tough decision about returning to work

Some Texas workers may soon face a tough choice – return to work or else.

It’s one of those scenarios that illustrate the tricky balance that’s involved in gradually reopening the Texas economy.

For many workers, it’s going to mean the chance to once again look forward to a steady paycheck. But going back to the job site means they will run the risk of possibly exposing themselves to the COVID-19 virus.

Some employees may simply choose to stay home rather than take that risk.

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However, the Texas Workforce Commission said if a business is in compliance with government safety guidelines and that employee chooses not to return to work, that employee does not have the option of remaining on unemployment benefits.

“If the business is eligible to open and that business is meeting the state and federal guidelines by the Texas Department of Health Services, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that employee does not go back to work then that employee would not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits,” said Cisco Gamez with the TWC.

There has been a lot of frustration voiced by those trying to sign up for unemployment benefits.

The TWC is still overwhelmed by phone calls from those who’ve recently lost their job.

The agency has opened eight call centers and is taking calls seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to try to meet the demand.

TWC said there are currently close to half a million job openings statewide listed on its website. The site also has information about virtual job fairs as well as training and other services for job seekers and employers.



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