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The New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law

The objective of the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law is to provide protection against the distresses and harshness of unemployment. Employees who are discharged through no fault of their own have the ability to collect an initial 26 weeks of benefits and may have such compensation extended thereafter. The New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law is accorded liberal construction and is very employee-oriented.  Unemployment benefits entitlement occurs when a claimant is not working full-time and is receiving compensation less than his weekly benefit rate. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, an individual must:

  • file a claim via the New Jersey Reemployment Call Center or apply online at the New Jersey Department of Labor, Division of Unemployment and Temporary Disability Insurance website;

  • be able to work; meaning physically, mentally, and legally able;

  • be actively seeking work; meaning making some effort to obtain employment within a reasonable distance from one’s home and not just relying upon an employment service or reading help wanted ads. This does not mean the discharged skilled employee immediately must take any unskilled job;

  • be available for work; meaning willing and ready for full-time work;

  • satisfy a one week waiting period; and

  • satisfy an earning requirement; meaning either establish at least 20 base weeks during the base year (see below for definitions) or was earning 1,000 times the minimum wage rate.

The Measure of Unemployment Compensation

The measure of the benefits is 60 percent of an eligible claimant’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum of 56 and 2/3 percent of the statewide average weekly compensation paid to workers by employers subject to the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law. The average weekly wage is computed on the basis of the most recent employer with whom the employee worked for twenty or more weeks. In the case where this does not exist, the rate is determined as if all wages were received by one employer, on average. The weekly benefit is increased by seven percent for the first dependent, and four percent for the next two as a maximum of three dependents is permissible. However, the weekly benefit including dependency benefits cannot exceed the maximum of 56 and 2/3 percent of the statewide average. In the situation of a married couple, where the two spouses are claiming unemployment compensation, only one can claim benefits for dependents. The maximum total benefits are then calculated by multiplying the weekly benefit rate by the number of the individual’s base weeks in a base year. Base weeks and base years are simply the weeks worked in previous weeks of four out of five quarters of the previous year prior to collecting unemployment benefits.

To discuss your employment law concerns with an experienced New Jersey employment lawyer, contact Kurkowski Law.

EMPLOYMENT LAW       

QUICK LINKS

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)  requires employers of 50 or more employees to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees.. more

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) makes it unlawful to subject people to differential treatment based upon the characteristics that make up a particular individual -- race, nationality, age, sex, marital status, perceived sexual orientation.. more

The New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act is one of the most far-reaching whistleblower statutes in the nation. Aimed to protect employee “whistleblowers,” the statute makes it unlawful for an employer to take adverse employment action(s) against an employee.. more


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