SERVING OUR CLIENTS AND COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19

Articles Tagged with unemployment lawyer

On March 27, 2020 the President Trump signed into law a massive stimulus bill, H.R. 748, which provides, among other things, a host of employment related protections and benefits to New Jersey workers. The stimulus package, titled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act (hereinafter referred to as the “CARES Act”), provides aid to American citizens that have been negatively impacted by the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.

IMG_3844-300x169Included in the Act’s employment protections are additional unemployment compensation benefits, expands paid leave protection, and provides payroll protections to small businesses. The bill has been heavily negotiated by both political sides for the past few weeks.  The final negotiated bill has received overwhelming bipartisan approval, receiving an approval by the Senate on Wednesday in a 96-0 vote. The employment related benefits provided under the CARES Act to New Jersey workers include the following:

Unemployment Benefits

The New Jersey Assembly Democratic Caucus will introduce a package of 25 bills, each designed to address a different aspect of the impact from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic (“Coronavirus”). Some of these impacts are directly related to the Coronavirus, but many others are the downstream, unintended but unavoidable consequences of policies and practices instituted to combat further spread of the virus. Many of these policies and practices have focused on limiting or eliminating social interaction, wherever possible.  While this may be the best method of stopping the spread of the virus, it creates additional problems in the context of employment rights and protections.

IMG_0999-300x169Many of the proposed bills in this package impact employment in ancillary ways, however three of the bills are specifically designed to provide employment protections. If passed, these bills would provide critical benefits for employees who are impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, including providing payment of lost wages, provision of paid sick leave, and job protections for individuals who take leave. As is discussed in detail below, these proposed bills do not apply to all employees or all situations.

“Temporary Lost Wage Unemployment Program” (A-3846)

On August 24, 2018, New Jersey has passed Bill A-3871, which amends N.J.S.A. 43:21-5 of the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Law by eliminating the severe misconduct disqualification as well as other changes to New Jersey unemployment laws.  One of the key changes in the bill is revising the definition of legal definition of what constitutes misconduct, along with modifying the misconduct disqualification period for misconduct was also changed in the new law from 7 weeks to 5 weeks.

Under the new unemployment law, misconduct is now defined as follows:

[b]ehavior, other than gross misconduct, conduct which is improper, connected with the individual’s work, malicious, within the individual’s control, not a good faith error of judgment or discretion, and is either a deliberate refusal without good cause, to comply with the employer’s lawful and reasonable rules made known to the employee or a deliberate disregard of standards of behavior the employer has a reasonable right to expect, including reasonable safety standards and reasonable standards for a workplace free of drug and substance abuse.