New Jersey employers faced with impending layoffs should familiarize themselves with recent amendments to the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation law. In response to a weakening economy and historic unemployment rates, the New Jersey Legislature amended the Unemployment Compensation law to raise awareness of the availability of unemployment benefits to the newly unemployed, as well as the time sensitivity of filing a claim.

Formerly, the law required only that the employer provide unemployed workers generalized instructions for filing a claim for unemployment benefits. The amendments place additional obligations on employers, requiring that separated employees receive specific instructions, at the time they become unemployed, advising them of their rights under the law.

Foremost among the new requirements is the obligation for employers to notify employees of the time sensitivity of filing a claim for unemployment benefits, so that they may avoid the partial or total loss of benefits due to an untimely claim. Additionally, the amendments require employers to provide benefit instructions, including the date upon which the worker becomes unemployed and, if the unemployment is temporary, the date of the worker’s recall to work. Employers can satisfy these additional requirements by providing separated employees with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Form BC-10.

Failure to comply with the law’s new requirements carries penalties for employers, including a monetary penalty of $50 per incident. The amendments make clear, however, that violations of the notice provision shall not result in re-employment rights for affected employees.