SENATE, No. 2680

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 25, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  FRED H. MADDEN, JR.

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Senator  JAMES BEACH

District 6 (Camden)

Assemblyman  JOSEPH V. EGAN

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblyman  DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman O'Donnell

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Changes the trigger for extended unemployment benefits.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning extended unemployment benefits and amending P.L.1970, c.324.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 5 of P.L.1970, c.324 (C.43:21-24.11) is amended to read as follows:

     5.    For the purposes of the extended benefit program and as used in this act, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

     a.     "Extended benefit period" means a period which

     (1)   Begins with the third week after a week for which there is a state "on" indicator; and

     (2)   Ends with either of the following weeks, whichever occurs later:

     (a)   The third week after the first week for which there is a state "off" indicator; or

     (b)   The thirteenth consecutive week of such period; provided, that no extended benefit period may begin by reason of a state "on" indicator before the fourteenth week after the close of a prior extended benefit period which was in effect with respect to this State; and provided further, that no extended benefit period may become effective in this State prior to the effective date of this act.

     b.    (Deleted by amendment.)

     c.     (Deleted by amendment.)

     d.    There is a "state 'on' indicator" for this State for a week if:

     (1)   The division determines, in accordance with the regulations of the United States Secretary of Labor, that for the period consisting of the respective week and the immediately preceding 12 weeks, the rate of insured unemployment (not seasonally adjusted) under the "unemployment compensation law" (R.S.43:21-1 et seq.):

     (a)   Equaled or exceeded 120% of the average of these rates for the corresponding 13-week period during each of the preceding 2 calendar years, and, for weeks beginning after September 25, 1982, equaled or exceeded 5%; or

     (b)   With respect to benefits for weeks of unemployment beginning after September 25, 1982, equaled or exceeded 6%; or

     (2)   With respect to any week of unemployment beginning after December 27, 2003 and before April 1, 2011 or after December 31, 2011, the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State, as determined by the United States Secretary of Labor for the most recent three-month period for which data for all states are published:

     (a)   Equals or exceeds 6.5%; and

     (b)   Equals or exceeds 110% of the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State during either or both of the corresponding three-month periods ending in the two preceding calendar years; or

     (3)   With respect to any week of unemployment beginning after March 31, 2011 and ending before January 1, 2012, the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State, as determined by the United States Secretary of Labor for the most recent three-month period for which data for all states are published:

     (a)   Equals or exceeds 6.5%; and

     (b)   Equals or exceeds 110% of the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State during any one of the corresponding three-month periods ending in the three preceding calendar years.

     e.     There is a "state 'off' indicator" for this State for a week if:

     (1)   The division determines, in accordance with the regulations of the United States Secretary of Labor, that for the period consisting of the respective week and the immediately preceding 12 weeks, paragraph (1) of subsection d. was not satisfied; and

     (2)   With respect to any week of unemployment beginning after December 27, 2003 and before April 1, 2011 or after December 31, 2011, as determined by the United States Secretary of Labor for the most recent three-month period for which data for all states are published, paragraph (2) of subsection d. was not satisfied.

     f.     "Rate of insured unemployment," for purposes of subsections d. and e. means the percentage derived by dividing

     (1)   The average weekly number of individuals filing claims for regular benefits in this State for weeks of unemployment with respect to the most recent 13-consecutive-week period, as determined by the division on the basis of its reports to the United States Secretary of Labor, by

     (2)   The average monthly covered employment for the specified period.

     g.     "Regular benefits" means benefits payable to an individual under the "unemployment compensation law" (R.S.43:21-1 et seq.) or under any other State law (including benefits payable to federal civilian employees and to ex-servicemen pursuant to 5 U.S.C. s.8501 et seq.) other than extended benefits.

     h.     "Extended benefits" means benefits (including benefits payable to federal civilian employees and to ex-servicemen pursuant to 5 U.S.C. s.8501 et seq.) payable to an individual under the provisions of this act for weeks of unemployment in his eligibility period.

     i.      "Eligibility period" of an individual means the period consisting of the weeks in his benefit year which begin in an extended benefit period and, if his benefit year ends within the extended benefit period, any weeks thereafter which begin in the period.

     j.     "Exhaustee" means an individual who, with respect to any week of unemployment in his eligibility period:

     (1)   Has received prior to the week, all of the regular benefits that were available to him under the "unemployment compensation law" (R.S. 43:21-1 et seq.) or any other State law (including dependents' allowances and benefits payable to federal civilian employees and ex-servicemen under 5 U.S.C. s.8501 et seq.) in his current benefit year that includes such week, provided, that for the purposes of this paragraph, an individual shall be deemed to have received all of the regular benefits that were available to him although as a result of a pending appeal with respect to wages and/or employment that were not considered in the original monetary determination in his benefit year, he may subsequently be determined to be entitled to added regular benefits; or

     (2)   His benefit year having expired prior to such week, has no, or insufficient, wages and/or employment on the basis of which he could establish a new benefit year that would include such week; and

     (3)   (a) has no right to unemployment benefits or allowances, as the case may be, under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the Automotive Products Trade Act of 1965 and such other federal laws as are specified in regulations issued by the United States Secretary of Labor; and

     (b)   has not received and is not seeking unemployment benefits under the Unemployment Compensation Law of Canada; but if he is seeking these benefits and the appropriate agency finally determines that he is not entitled to benefits under that law he is considered an exhaustee if the other provisions of this definition are met.

     k.    "State law" means the unemployment insurance law of any state approved by the United States Secretary of Labor under section 3304 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. s.3304.

     l.      "High unemployment period" means [any]:

     (1)   Any period beginning after December 27, 2003 and before April 1, 2011 or after December 31, 2011 during which the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State, as determined by the United States Secretary of Labor for the most recent three-month period for which data for all states are published:

     [(1)] (a)  Equals or exceeds 8%; and

     [(2)] (b)  Equals or exceeds 110% of the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State during either or both of the corresponding three-month periods ending in the two preceding calendar years: or

     (2)   Any period beginning after March 31, 2011, and ending before January 1, 2012, during which the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State, as determined by the United States Secretary of Labor for the most recent three-month period for which data for all states are published:

     (a)   Equals or exceeds 8%; and

     (b)   Equals or exceeds 110% of the average seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment in the State during any one of the corresponding three-month periods ending in the three preceding calendar years.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.249, s.2)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill implements an option made available by recent federal legislation which will permit laid-off workers in New Jersey to continue to receive extended unemployment benefits for much, if not all, of 2011.

     Under the current provisions of the State’s “Extended Benefits Law,” sections 5 through 11 of P.L.1970, c.324 (C.43:21-24.11 et seq.), extended benefits (“EB”) are triggered “on” if the total unemployment rate in the State for the most recent three-month period for which data is available:

     1.    Equals or exceeds 110% of the average unemployment rate in the State during either or both of the corresponding three-month periods ending in the two preceding calendar years; and

     2.    Equals or exceeds 6.5%, in which case 13 weeks of EB will be provided, or equals or exceeds 8%, in which case 20 weeks of EB will be provided.

     It is generally considered likely that the unemployment rate will remain high enough during most of 2011 to meet the second requirement to trigger “on” EB.  It has been estimated, however, that the first requirement to trigger “on” EB, that the unemployment rate be at least 10% higher than the corresponding period in either of the preceding years, will not be sustained even through the first six months of 2011.

     This bill implements for calendar year 2011 an option provided by the federal “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010”, Pub. Law 111-312, to trigger “on” EB if the State unemployment rate in the most recent three-month period equals or exceeds 110% of the unemployment rate during any one of the corresponding periods ending in any of the three preceding calendar years.  The federal option, as reflected in this bill, makes it likely that EB will be continued, because the unemployment rate in New Jersey would have to be no more than 110% of the 2008 unemployment rates of between 4.2% to 6.0%, thus resulting in “on” trigger unemployment rates of between 4.6% and 6.6%, far below the current rate of 9.1%.

     The continuation of EB under this will incur no costs to New Jersey’s UI fund or employers in the State, because the federal act provides 100% federal funding of the benefits through December 31, 2011.  Under the federal act, both the 100% federal funding and the greater availability of EB under the trigger option, as implemented by this bill, expire simultaneously.