Bill Text: NJ S3283 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Concerns emergency unemployment benefits and shared work benefits.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 11-3)

Status: (Vetoed) 2021-02-04 - Absolute Veto, Received in the Senate [S3283 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S3283-Amended.html

[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 3283

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 10, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  DAWN MARIE ADDIEGO

District 8 (Atlantic, Burlington and Camden)

Senator  JOSEPH A. LAGANA

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Senator  VIN GOPAL

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Concerns emergency unemployment benefits and shared work benefits.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As reported by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on December 14, 2020, with amendments.

  


An Act concerning emergency unemployment benefits and shared work benefits, supplementing P.L.1970, c.324, and amending P.L.2020, c.57.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  As used in sections 1 through 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     "CARES Act" means the federal ''Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act'', Pub.L. 116-136.

     "Emergency unemployment benefit period" means the period which begins on December 20, 2020, and ends on February 27, 2021, or at the conclusion of the calendar week in which total expenditures of emergency unemployment benefits chargeable to the unemployment compensation fund Statewide first exceed $350 million, if the conclusion of that week occurs before February 27, 2021.  No emergency unemployment benefits shall be paid to any individual with respect to periods of unemployment after February 27, 2021.

     "Emergency unemployment benefits" means benefits financed entirely by the State and paid to exhaustees pursuant to sections 1 through 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     "Exhaustee" means an individual who, at any time during the emergency unemployment benefit period, has exhausted all of the regular benefits that were available to the individual pursuant to the "unemployment compensation law," R.S.43:21-1 et seq., including benefits payable to federal civilian employees and ex-service persons or payable under the combined wage program, all extended unemployment benefits available under State or federal laws, including PUA benefits, and all other unemployment benefits provided under the CARES Act, except that the individual shall still be an exhaustee if the only other unemployment benefits the individual receives during emergency unemployment benefit period are federal unemployment benefits intended to supplement State unemployment benefits during a benefit week, such as the $600 per week of federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation that was provided pursuant to the CARES Act during 2020.

      1"Exhaustee" shall not include an individual for whom the only unemployment benefits exhausted were pandemic unemployment assistance benefits provided pursuant to the CARES Act, and for whom, during the base year or other period used to determine the individual's eligibility for the unemployment benefits which the
individual exhausted, no contributions were made to the unemployment compensation fund by the individual or by an employer on behalf of the individual.1

     "PUA benefits" means pandemic unemployment assistance benefits provided pursuant to the CARES Act 1paid to an individual for whom, during the base year or other period used to determine the individual's eligibility for the unemployment benefits which the individual exhausted, contributions to the unemployment compensation fund were made by the individual or by an employer on behalf of the individual1.

 

     2.    (New section)  a.  During the emergency unemployment benefit period, an exhaustee who continues to meet the eligibility requirements for regular unemployment benefits pursuant to the provisions of the "unemployment compensation law," R.S.43:21-1 et seq., except as provided in subsection b. of this section, or the eligibility requirements for PUA benefits or other unemployment benefits the exhaustee received pursuant to the CARES Act, may receive weekly emergency unemployment benefits in an amount equal to the weekly benefit amount of the exhaustee's most recent regular unemployment benefit claim under the "unemployment compensation law," R.S.43:21-1 et seq., or, if the exhaustee was receiving PUA benefits pursuant to the CARES Act, equal to the weekly benefit amount of the exhaustee's PUA benefit claim.

     b.    For any week of the emergency benefit period in which the public health emergency and state of emergency declared by the Governor on March 9, 2020, and any subsequent extensions of that public health emergency and state of emergency are in effect, all modifications or waivers of requirements for job search and availability to work made with respect to unemployment benefits provided pursuant to the CARES Act shall apply with respect to a claim for emergency unemployment benefits.

     c.     The maximum emergency unemployment benefits an individual may receive pursuant to sections 1 through 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be eight times the weekly benefit amount that was payable to the individual pursuant to the "unemployment compensation law," R.S.43:21-1 et seq., including benefits payable to federal civilian employees and ex-service persons or payable under the combined wage program, or that was payable as PUA benefits pursuant to the CARES Act, in the individual's applicable benefit year.

 

     3.    (New section)  No employer's account shall be charged for emergency unemployment benefits paid to an unemployed individual pursuant to sections 1 through 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill), provided that emergency unemployment benefits paid to federal civilian employees shall be charged to the appropriate federal account, and emergency unemployment benefits paid to ex-service persons shall be charged to the General Fund.

 

     4.    (New section)  a.  Emergency unemployment benefits shall be paid pursuant to the provisions of sections 1 through 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) only with respect to weeks not within an extended benefit period, and not within a period covered by any federal law allowing the filing of new claims extending benefits beyond those provided for as regular or extended benefits, except as provided in subsection b. of this section.

     b.    To the extent permitted by federal law without penalty, the payment of emergency unemployment benefits to an individual shall be discontinued, if the individual becomes eligible for, and commences to receive, any unemployment benefits which become available to the individual during the emergency unemployment benefit period, except that emergency unemployment benefits may be paid to an individual in the same weeks as federal unemployment benefits intended to supplement State unemployment benefits, such as the $600 per week of federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation that was provided pursuant to the CARES Act during 2020.

 

     5.    (New section) The division shall use appropriate administrative means to ensure that emergency unemployment benefits are paid only to individuals who meet the requirements of sections 1 through 5 of P.L.    , c.    (C.      )(pending before the Legislature as this bill).  These administrative actions may include, but shall not be limited to, matching the claimant's social security number against available wage records to ensure that no earnings were reported for that claimant by employers under R.S.43:21-14 for periods in which emergency unemployment benefits were paid.

 

     6.    Section 5 of P.L.2020, c.57 (C.43:21-20.13) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    To facilitate the providing of the maximum possible benefits for employees and savings for employers in the State from the federal financing of unemployment benefits provided in connection with short-time compensation programs pursuant to section 2108 of the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," Pub. Law 116-136 and from federal financing of emergency increases in unemployment benefits under section 2104 of that act, and any extension or reinstatement of the federal financing for those purposes pursuant to any subsequent federal legislation, the division shall, during the period [from] commencing with the effective date of this act [until December 31, 2020], undertake the following actions:

     a.     Make available to all employers who may be eligible to participate in a shared work program pursuant to P.L.2011, c.154 (C.43:21-20.3 et seq.) for which full federal funding of short-time unemployment benefits is available pursuant to section 2108 of the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act," Pub. Law 116-136, and pursuant to any extension or reinstatement of the federal financing for those purposes pursuant to any subsequent federal legislation, a guidance document which explains:

     (1)   what the employer is required to do to establish, pursuant to P.L.2011, c.154 (C.43:21-20.3 et seq.), shared work programs eligible for the federal funding, including providing certification to the division that any union representing employees in collective bargaining has entered into a written agreement regarding the terms of the program and certification that the employer will continue providing any current health insurance and pension coverage, paid time off and other benefits in the manner required by P.L.2011, c.154 (C.43:21-20.3 et seq.);

     (2)   procedures for an employer to make an application for approval of a shared work program, including an explanation of how the employer may make preliminary calculations of benefits to be paid to participating employees to expedite the commencement of the payment of the benefits in the shortest possible time;

     b.    Provide any eligible employer with guidance in making an application for approval of a shared work program;

     c.     Permit an application for approval of a shared work program to be submitted to, and approved by, the division in advance of the date on which reduced hours of employment are to commence to permit payment of benefits under the program immediately upon that commencement;

     d.    Permit employers who have fully laid off employees to resume employing those employees on a partial basis in a manner consistent with the requirements of P.L.2011, c.154 (C.43:21-20.3 et seq.), and establish a shared work program to make short-time benefits available to those employees; and

     e.     Permit, upon the approval of a shared work program, of the payment of benefits retroactively back to the time that the shared work application was submitted and commenced in a manner consistent with the requirements of P.L.2011, c.154 (C.43:21-20.3 et seq.).

     The division shall continue to undertake the actions indicated in subsections b., c., d., and e. of this section whether or not full federal funding of short-time unemployment benefits continues to be available.

(cf: P.L.2020, c.57, s.5)

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately.

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