New Jersey’s Unemployment Law changed last year to support overall fairness in the unemployment process. The changes took effect on July 31, 2023, and are enforced by the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL).
Providing Forms to the NJDOL
Under the new law, employers must meet additional requirements. Previously, employers were only required to provide a copy of the form BC-10 (containing information about the unemployment process) to the employee. Under the amended law, the employer must now also provide a completed BC-10 form to the NJDOL at the time of separation. This requirement applies even if the separated employee does not apply for unemployment benefits. If the separated employee does file an unemployment claim, the employer must now provide information about the employee’s separation to both the employee (or claimant) and the NJDOL. A form detailing the separation must be sent within seven days of the employee’s separation, or the employer will face fines. The amended law is a significant improvement for employees/claimants, granting them immediate access to the information their prior employers submit about them to the NJDOL.
Additionally, under the new law, if an employer is late in submitting the separation form to the NJDOL and the claimant (i.e., past seven days from job separation), they cannot challenge any of the benefits already paid to the claimant. The employer can only challenge benefits paid after their separation form is received by the NJDOL. This change makes the unemployment process more fair and just and aims to reduce the overpayment debt caused by employers’ late submission of separation-related information.
Extended Deadline to Appeal
The amended law also extends the deadline to appeal a denial of unemployment. First, the NJDOL is now required to render an initial determination of eligibility within three weeks from when the claimant first files for unemployment. If the claimant is denied unemployment benefits, they will now have 21 days to file an appeal of that denial, rather than only 10 days previously. Employers have seven days from receipt of the determination to file an appeal.
Finally, the new law deals with overpayment debt differently depending on who was responsible for the mistaken payment of benefits. Specifically, if the overpayment arose from a mistake by the employer or the NJDOL/agency, the claimant will not be responsible for paying back the overpaid benefits. If the employer’s error led to the overpayment, the NJDOL will charge the employer’s account, and the claimant will have no obligation to repay any benefits received. Whee the agency made the error, the overpaid benefits can only be deducted from a claimant’s future unemployment benefits. Finally, it is important to remember if the claimant caused the overpayment (whether intentionally or not), the claimant will be responsible for paying back any benefits received. An important change, however, is that non-fraud overpayments will be waived, or forgiven, after four years. Though further changes are needed to make the unemployment process more just and equitable, these amendments are a significant improvement.
This information last reviewed: Oct 3, 2023