TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred Madden (D-Gloucester, Camden) that would permit an employer of at least 10 full-time, non-seasonal employees to provide a shared work program was signed into law today.
“While nationally we are seeing progress in terms of reducing the unemployment rate, unfortunately we are seeing little change here in New Jersey,” said Madden, chair of the Senate Labor Committee. “That is why it is crucial we take steps that will keep small businesses from having to lay off workers. This bill will do just that, by providing them a better option while at the same time preventing them from having to spend money they don’t have.”
The bill, S-1301, is designed to encourage employers who must reduce their employees’ work hours because of economic conditions to avoid layoffs by sharing the remaining work. The bill would encourage shared work by permitting, under certain circumstances, a full-time employee to receive unemployment benefits when the employee’s weekly work time is reduced by 10% or more.
The shared work program would be contingent on approval from the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This program would allow, under certain circumstances, a full-time employee to receive unemployment benefits when the employee’s weekly work time is reduced by 10% or more.
Under an approved program, an employee would be eligible for “short-time” Unemployment Insurance benefits if: the employee was employed by the employer for not less than 1,500 hours during the individual’s base year; the employee’s weekly work hours are reduced at least 10% from normal full-time hours; the employee would be eligible for regular unemployment benefits during the week if the employee was entirely unemployed; and the employee is available to work normal full-time hours.