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New Jersey Employers Face Changes to Unemployment Compensation Law

NOTICE DATE 22 JULY 2023

NOTE: As you may know, each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law. Check with your state’s unemployment insurance program regarding the rules in your state.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a number of substantial changes to New Jersey’s unemployment compensation law on November 3, 2022: https://legiscan.com/NJ/text/S2357/2022  The amendments will take effect July 31, 2023. The amendments materially alter various aspects of the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law, including employer reporting requirements, deadlines for unemployment benefits determinations, penalties for employer noncompliance, and overpayment liability.

     *PLEASE NOTIFY YOUR HR TEAM AND/OR SUPERVISING EMPLOYEES OF THE CHANGES RESPECTIVELY* 

REPORTING OBLIGATIONS: UCA WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE CLAIM PROCESSING SUPPORT AS USUAL BUT THE FOLLOWING REPORTING OBLIGATIONS MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE EMPLOYER WITH THE STATE THROUGH THE EMPLOYER ACCESS ACCOUNT.  Among the amendments is a new obligation for employers to provide the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) with required separation information any time an employer operating in New Jersey discharges an employee. Employers that fail or refuse to furnish the information may be liable for significant fines. The NJDOL will provide employers with a new form containing directions that enumerate what specific information an employer must provide to the NJDOL electronically when it separates an employee which we assume will be similar to Form BC-28. Employers will be expected to submit separation information regardless of whether an unemployment claim for benefits is filed by the separated employee. Currently, employers must provide terminated employees with the State-issued Instructions for Claiming Unemployment Benefits (Form BC-10) immediately after separation. The NJDOL will provide employers with a new form containing directions that enumerate what specific information an employer must provide to the NJDOL electronically when it separates an employee. Once the amendments take effect, employers will also be required to “immediately and simultaneously” send the benefit determination information AND a copy of Form BC-10 electronically to the NJDOL. This means that employers will be expected to submit separation information to the NJDOL whether or not the separated employee files a claim for unemployment benefits.  IF AN EMPLOYEE DOES SUBMIT A UI CLAIM, YOUR CLAIMS ANALYST WILL REQUEST SEPARATION INFORMATION AND YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT A COPY OF THE DOCUMENTATION YOU SUBMITTED TO THE STATE, ALONG WITH THE REQUESTED SEPARATION INFORMATION.

DEADLINES: Employers will be required to respond to NJDOL requests for information within 7 days of the request being made, while existing law provides for a ten-day window. When appealing an initial benefit determination and subsequent benefit determinations other than when benefits ended or were reduced, employers will have 7 days after confirmed receipt to file their appeal, while claimants will have within 21 days of mailing to appeal. When appealing a subsequent benefits determination when benefits ended or were reduced, the claimant will have 7 days following notification of the decision. NJDOL will now have 7 calendar days from the date that the new information form is sent to NJDOL, or the date the separated employee applies for benefits, whichever is earliest, to obtain any missing separation information. NJDOL will now have 3 weeks from the date a claim is received to make the initial benefits determination.

An employer may no longer retroactively contest a benefits determination if the employer is late in providing separation information. The employer can only contest the benefits determination for workweeks that occur after the separation information is received. If an employer did not provide separation information and if an initial determination is made without the separation information, benefits are paid immediately, and any initial or subsequent determinations about charges to the employer’s account paid before the employer’s submission of the separation information become incontestable.

PENALTIES: An employer that “willfully fails or refuses to furnish any reports or information” will be held liable for a fine of $500 per day or 25% of the amount fraudulently withheld. Each misrepresentation or failure to disclose a material fact and each day of such failure or refusal will constitute a separate offense.

LIABILITY: Using a new “allocation of fault” standard, if the overpayment resulted from the employer’s or the NJDOL’s mistake, then a claimant is not liable to repay the additional monies. If it is found that an employer’s error resulted in an overpayment, the employer’s unemployment account will be charged for the error. If the separated employee caused the error, then the separated employee must pay back NJDOL. If NJDOL causes the error, the overpayment will be deducted from the individual’s unemployment benefits on the next occasion the employee is separated from a job (although after 4 years, the overpayment is waived).

We recommend you review your unemployment procedures to comply with the new requirements and ensure responsible parties are submitting the separation information and BC-10 forms electronically, timeously, through your NJ Employer Access Account:  https://www.nj.gov/labor/ea/employer-services/register-update/employeraccess.shtml  

To register for Employer Access, your business must be subject to the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation law and be required to file both Forms NJ927 and WR30.  Already have an account? Log in to Employer Access via myNewJersey

For questions about this notice, please contact your account manager (not your claims analyst).

Ashley Widdison   ashley@ucadvantage.net

Jason Hynek   jasonhynek@ucadvantage.net

NOTICE DATE 22 JULY 2023 

This notice is current as of date and time above and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. UC Advantage, Inc. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents herein to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Do not actor refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice.For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to the relative state department of labor for clarification.

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