Notably, the changes to the unemployment compensation law also include enhanced penalties for noncompliance.
On July 31, 2023, several amendments that impact employer compliance with the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law go into effect. These changes include new reporting obligations for employers, modifications to the deadlines for appeals and substantially increased fines for noncompliance.
The key takeaways of the new reporting obligations are:
- Beginning July 31, 2023, employers must “immediately and simultaneously” send to the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s (NJDOL) Division of Unemployment Insurance a copy of the NJDOL’s Form BC-10 given to separated employees. Employers in New Jersey were previously required to provide a BC-10 to separated employees, but not required to submit the document to the NJDOL.
- Also effective July 31, 2023, employers must submit a form to the NJDOL every time an employee is separated that will include information “sufficient to enable the [NJDOL] to make a benefit determination.” Employers will need to submit this new form regardless of whether the separated employee applies for unemployment benefits or not. The new form will need to be submitted along with Form BC-10. As of the date of this Alert, the NJDOL has not yet published the form.
The amendments to the Unemployment Compensation Law also modified several deadlines that relate to the unemployment process:
- The NJDOL will now notify the employer of missing separation information within seven days of the employee’s unemployment insurance claim or the employer’s submission of the required information (whichever occurs first), and the employer will have seven days to respond.
- The NJDOL will make an initial benefits determination within three weeks of receiving a separated employee’s claim.
- Claimants will have 21 days to appeal an initial NJDOL determination, but employers will still only have seven days from confirmed receipt of a determination to appeal.
Notably, the changes to the unemployment compensation law also include enhanced penalties for noncompliance. The law previously subjected employers to a $25 fine for every 10 days that the employer failed to provide benefits-related information to the NJDOL. However, beginning July 31, an employer that “willfully fails or refuses to furnish any reports or information,” including separation information, will be liable for a fine of $500 or 25 percent of any amount fraudulently withheld, whichever is greater.
Although guidance from the NJDOL is, according to the state, “forthcoming,” the state recently advised that businesses should immediately create an Employer Access (formerly TWES) account to “provide an email address to correspond electronically with NJDOL’s Divisions of Employer Accounts and Unemployment Insurance as required by” the new regulations. Accounts can be created on the NJDOL website.
What This Means for New Jersey Employers
New Jersey employers should establish formal procedures to ensure they will be able to comply with the law’s new reporting and timing obligations. Employers will also want to keep these obligations in mind for reductions in force and other planned-for separations.
For More Information
If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Michael R. Futterman, Patrice E. LeTourneau, Danielle M. Dwyer, any of the attorneys in our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.
Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.