Amendments to New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law (UCL) recently took effect on July 31, 2023. The amendments include important changes to the required forms, required deadlines, penalties, and overpayment. The highlights are below.
Under the amendments, in addition to having the employer complete and provide a separated employee with the Form BC-10 containing instructions for claiming unemployment benefits and information about the employer that the worker needs to file a claim, each employer must simultaneously file on the electronic Employer Access System: (1) the same completed Form BC-10 provided to the employee; and (2) a new form created by the Division of Unemployment and Temporary Disability Insurance of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the State of New Jersey (“Division”) providing the State with sufficient information to make a benefit determination.
To accomplish this, the employer should establish an online account with the Employer Access System.
The amendments also modified a number of deadlines. Chief among them are:
Obtaining Missing Separation Information: The Division shall notify the employer of any missing separation information by electronic means within 7 days after the employer provides the required disclosure or within 7 days after the filing of the claim, whichever occurs first. The employer then has 7 days to provide the requested missing information.
Initial Benefits Determination: The Division has 3 weeks from the date the claim is received to make an initial benefits determination.
Appealing the Benefits Determination: Employers have 7 days from confirmed receipt of an initial benefits decision to appeal the initial determination of benefits. Claimants have up to 21 days from the date the initial benefits decision was mailed to appeal an initial benefits determination. Claimants then have an additional 7 days to appeal a subsequent determination after receiving a written explanation from the NJ DOL.
The amended law increased penalties for employers, who will now be subject to a fine of $500 per day or 25 % of the amount of unemployment benefits withheld, whichever is greater. Penalties may also be assessed against employers who willfully fail or refuse to furnish any reports or information or who knowingly make a false statement or knowingly fail to disclose a material fact to avoid or reduce the payment of unemployment benefits.
Under the amendments, a claimant is not liable for repayment if the overpayment was due to the fault of the Division or the employer but must only pay the Division back if the claimant is at fault.
Employers and employees should be aware of their rights and obligations related to unemployment benefits. Employers should ensure that they modify their practices and policies to comply with the new requirements. Employers may also want to consult the Division’s FAQs for further guidance.
This summary is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This information should not be reused without permission.