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Coniglio Bill To Bring Equity To Unemployment Benefits Approved In Committee

TRENTON – The Senate Labor Committee 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.

“Right now, we have two standards when it comes to determining unemployment eligibility based on whether you are a full-time worker or a temporary worker,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “Not only is this fundamentally unfair, but also forces temporary workers from moving 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.

According to Senator Coniglio, “These two terms may sound like the same thing, but have very different meanings and consequences for individuals seeking unemployment benefits.”

According to the Department of Labor, if workers voluntarily leaves 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.

“Too often, individuals get stuck hopping from temporary job to temporary job because the law makes it difficult for them to take the time to focus on finding a full-time job. 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 Committee by a vote of 5-0 and now goes to the full Senate for their approval.

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