- The Taxable Wage Base (TWB) increases from $41,100 to $42,300.
- The state unemployment insurance tax (SUTA) rates now range from 1.2% to 7.0%.
- Including both the wage base and rate increase (effective 1/1/24), employers could see a total tax increase upwards of 24% for employees earning $42,300 or more.
Complete details on New Jersey’s Unemployment Guidelines can be found here.
New Jersey announced an increase in rate tables for the July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024 timeframe, moving from Table D to Table E. Experience rates will now range from 1.2% to 4.3% for positive ratio employers and 6.1% to 7.0% for negative ratio employers. The new employer rate has also increased, to 3.4%. This represents a substantial increase year-over-year. Including both the table increase and increase in wage base (effective 1/1/24), employers could see a total tax increase upwards of 24% for employees earning $42,300 or more.
Additionally, employers were recently notified that unemployment experience rates for the July 1, 2023 fiscal year were available for viewing and downloading. The state noted that they will no longer be mailing a paper notice to any employer with electronic access.
The New Jersey Unemployment Law Updates Employers Need to Know
Sweeping changes to New Jersey’s unemployment laws took effect on July 31, introducing new procedures and reporting obligations that employers must follow in the case of employee separation—and significantly increasing the penalties for employers who fail to comply.
New Jersey’s unemployment system came under fire during the pandemic when thousands of workers were forced to wait months—or in some cases, years—to receive unemployment insurance benefits (UI) that they were eligible for. As a historic number of residents applied for insurance benefits, many were unable to reach call center representatives and waited endlessly for communication and decisions from the state’s Department of Labor. The changes to New Jersey’s law are an effort to streamline and modernize the unemployment insurance benefits process going forward.
“This law is a response to the processing delays and wait times seen during a critical time of high unemployment during the coronavirus crisis. It will provide much-needed relief to claimants by expediting the determination and appeals process and by providing more options for claimants to speak directly with department staff to resolve issues,” said Senator Fred Madden, the Chairman of the Senate Labor Committee.
Here’s what the amendments to New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation law mean for employers:
New form procedures
Existing law requires that employers in New Jersey provide separated employees with a Form BC-10—which includes the employer’s identification number, a notice of unemployment insurance eligibility, and other information needed to claim unemployment benefits. Beginning July 31, employers must also “immediately and simultaneously” send an electronic copy of form BC-10 to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)
In addition to submitting Form BC-10, the state now requires employers to send an additional form to separated employees and the NJDOL that will help the state determine whether a departing employee is entitled to unemployment benefits. Employers are required to submit this new form regardless of whether the separated employee applies for unemployment benefits or not. This form has yet to be released—but employers are advised to create an Employer Access account in order to correspond electronically with the NJDOL and receive updates. Accounts can be created on the department’s website.
Many of the state’s Unemployment Insurance notification and appeals timelines and deadlines have changed as of July 31.
- The NJDOL will now have seven calendar days from the receipt of the new information form, or seven calendar days from the date the separated employee applies for benefits (whichever is earliest) to obtain any missing information regarding the employee’s separation. If an employee fails to provide the separation information within seven days of receiving an electronic notice or request for information by the state, the state will decide the claim based on available evidence.
- The NJDOL will now have three weeks from the date a claim is received to make the initial benefits determination. In prior years, they have had two weeks to make a determination.
- Previously, claimants and employers could appeal initial benefits determinations within seven days of receiving the notice of determination, or within 10 days of the notices’ mailing date. Now, employees will have up to 21 days from the date the initial benefits decision was mailed to appeal an initial benefits determination, while employers will have just seven days from confirmed receipt of an initial benefits decision to appeal. Notably, New Jersey’s amended law now entirely bans employers from trying to appeal an initial benefits determination after the seven-day or 21-day period.
Stronger penalties for noncompliance
New Jersey’s Department of Labor is serious about compelling employers to comply with deadlines that determine UI eligibility.
Employers who do not provide information about unemployment claims within seven days to the state Department of Labor will now face either a $500 penalty or a penalty of 25 percent of the amount of unemployment benefits withheld—whichever is greater—for each day that they fail to do so. This includes failure to provide the separation information form now required to be submitted to the NJDOL.
The same penalty will also be imposed on employers who knowingly make a false statement or intentionally fail to disclose information to avoid or reduce the payment of UI benefits. Previously, employers who did not comply with NJDOL deadlines faced a much smaller fine of $25 for every 10 days that they did not provide information.
The changes to New Jersey’s law also reduce a separated employee’s responsibility for repaying the state if they are overpaid UI benefits by mistake. Previously, people who were overpaid were liable for paying back the benefits they were overpaid—even if they were overpaid due to no fault of their own. Now, workers who are overpaid because of errors made by the state or their employer are only liable for paying back up to 50% of the amount overpaid. Separated employees will still be required to reimburse the state if they were overpaid because of an error that they themselves made.
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