BILL TO HELP CONTINUE BENEFITS FOR UNEMPLOYED SIGNED INTO LAW

Legislation  to take advantage of a federal law that allows laid-off workers in New Jersey to continue to receive extended unemployment benefits for much, if not all, of 2011, has been signed into law.

The bill implements an option provided by the federal Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 to allow extended benefits.

The federal option makes it likely that extended benefits will be continued, because the unemployment rate in New Jersey would have to be no more than 110% of the 2008 jobless rates of between 4.2 percent to 6.0 percent, far below the current rate of 9.1 percent.

The continuation of benefits under this bill will incur no costs to New Jersey’s unemployment fund or employers in the state, because the federal act provides 100 percent federal funding of the benefits through Dec. 31. Under the federal act, both the 100 percent federal funding and the greater availability of benefits under the trigger option, as implemented by this bill, expire simultaneously.

The bill was approved unanimously by both houses of the legislature earlier this year.

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