Changes to New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law take effect July 31, 2023
On July 31, 2023, an amendment to New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law that ostensibly seeks to streamline the benefits process will go into effect. Governor Phil Murphy signed the amendment into law in November 2022.
Most notably, the amended law creates new reporting obligations for employers upon the separation of a New Jersey employee. Existing law requires employers to provide separated employees with Form BC-10 (which includes certain information regarding how to claim unemployment benefits) immediately upon separation from employment.
Beginning July 31, employers will also be required to “simultaneously” send (1) a copy of Form BC-10 and (2) a separate form containing information about the employee’s separation to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) via electronic submission. A copy of the completed separate form, which has yet to be released by the DLWD, must also be provided to the separated employee. Employers should continue to monitor the DLWD website for information about the new form and the electronic submission process.
Several applicable notice and appeal deadlines will also change as of July 31:
- The DLWD will now have seven calendar days from the date that the new information form is sent to the DLWD, or from the date the separated employee applies for benefits, whichever is earliest, to obtain any missing separation information.
- The DLWD will now have three weeks from the date a claim is received to make the initial benefits determination.
- Employers will now have seven days from confirmed receipt of an initial benefits decision to appeal the initial determination of benefits.
- Employees will now have up to 21 days from the date the initial benefits decision was mailed to appeal an initial benefits determination.
Under the amended law, an employer may no longer retroactively contest a benefits determination if it is late in providing separation information and is limited to contesting the benefits determination for workweeks that occur after the separation information is received.
Finally, the amended law also subjects an employer to increased penalties, including a $500-per-day fine or 25 percent of the amount of unemployment benefits withheld, whichever is greater. The DLWD will apply this penalty to an employer who “willfully fails or refuses to furnish any reports or information” or who knowingly makes a false statement or knowingly fails to disclose a material fact to avoid or reduce the payment of unemployment benefits.
Employers with employees working in New Jersey should take note of these new requirements and ensure compliance with their reporting obligations starting July 31.