The COVID-19 pandemic led to Congress’ passage of two groundbreaking pieces of legislation, mitigating the financial toll on individuals unable to work due to the pandemic. The protections include: paid sick time, job protected leave for routine childcare, and expanded unemployment benefits. The current worker protection system affords insufficient rights in the event of an economic termination. The accommodations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have long been demanded and could pave the way for enduring employment reform. This Article encourages the recognition of “temporary termination” for employees terminated for economic reasons. Arnow-Richman advocates for the following “temporary termination” rights: advance notice or its equivalent severance pay; ability of employers to classify such workers as temporarily separated; streamlined employee access to unemployment benefits; entitlement to reinstatement when work becomes available; and a deferred severance pay if the employer is unable to reinstate the employment.
Rachel Arnow-Richman, Temporary Termination: A Layoff Law Blueprint for the COVID Era, 64 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 1 (2021)