NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Many Tennesseans are headed back to work as the state’s economy slowly reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic. If you don’t feel comfortable going back to work just yet, you can still receive federal benefits.
Employees who don’t feel comfortable going back to work can still get pandemic unemployment insurance from the federal government, which is $600 a week. However, they won’t get state benefits.
Some businesses have been pushing Congress for their own legal protections, such as expanding workers’ compensation for those who decide to go back to work and end up getting the virus on the job.
"The tradeoff is, if a worker gets injured on the job, they have workers' compensation coverage, and the benefit to the employer is if a worker is injured on the job, there's not this liability determination. There's not this negligence claim. There's not this lawsuit. It's just workers compensation," said Christine Lamb, partner and founder of Fortis Law Partners.
For example, large clusters of COVID-19 cases were reported at the Tyson Plants in Shelbyville and Goodlettsville. Those facilities were deep-cleaned and then reopened – but days later, President Trump ordered them to remain open no matter what.
Legal experts say they expect to see a spike in complaints as people get back to work. They say businesses should have safety plans and make sure their employees know about them.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Lee is still asking those who can work from home to continue to do so.
What is the rebound?
As Middle Tennessee works to rebound from the impact of the Coronavirus, we want to help. Whether it's getting back to work, making ends meet during this uncertain time, or managing the pressure, we're committed to finding solution. In addition, we want to tell your stories of hope, inspiration, and creativity as Middle Tennessee starts to rebound.
Find more in the sections below
More Safely Back to School storiesHow schools are changing, and what you can do to help your child get the most from their education, in-person or virtual
Getting Back To WorkLearn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends MeetFind help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the PressureFeeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What’s RightKeep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
State of EducationFind ways to cope with the new normal around schools and celebrate students’ success in the age of Coronavirus.
We're Open Y'allSupport local businesses doing their best to stay open and serve their customers during Covid.