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Coniglio Bill To Bring Equity To Unemployment Benefits Approved By Senate

TRENTON – The Senate approved legislation today sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio which would end penalties for temporary workers who refuse to accept a new assignment upon the completion of an old assignment.

“We currently have two separate and unequal standards in New Jersey when it comes to determining unemployment benefit eligibility,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “Temporary workers have a much harder time qualifying for unemployment benefits, forcing them to move from one assignment to another with little hope of being able to seek full-time employment.”

The bill, S-62, would amend current law to state that when an individual completes an assignment with a temporary help service firm and is subsequently offered a new assignment and rejects the offer, it would be considered refusing an offer of new work. Current law treats this refusal as voluntarily quitting a job.

Senator Coniglio explained that, “This difference of just a few words means that temporary workers have far fewer rights when it comes to choosing where they want to work and what jobs they want to perform.”

According to Senator Coniglio, under current law, if a temporary worker refuses a new assignment after completing his or her current assignment, that person would be ineligible to collect unemployment benefits while an unemployed permanent worker who refuses a job offer could still be eligible for benefits. Under the Senator’s bill, temporary workers would be treated like permanent workers.

According to the Department of Labor, if workers voluntarily leave their jobs without “good cause connected with the work,” they are ineligible for unemployment benefits. Individuals can refuse an offer of new work and maintain their unemployment benefits under a much broader set of provisions.

“The ultimate goal is to help people move into permanent, full-time jobs so that they can build careers rather than live from paycheck to paycheck. By restoring fairness to the system, these people can take the time to go on interviews and get the education and training they need to obtain permanent employment,” explained Senator Coniglio.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 37-0 and now goes to the Assembly for their approval.

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