COVID-19 Unemployment, Family Leave and Related Matters
Employees throughout our state have been seriously impacted by COVID-19. Below, we have tried to highlight the topics that we are asked about frequently. If you do not see the topic that you are looking for, please visit our state's COVID-19 website.
Resources for those who are unemployed due to COVID-19
Over 1.3 million New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. Many have been helped but there are many who were experiencing problems and significant delays. In Governor Murphy's daily briefing on July 2, 2020, it was reported that 96% of those who have filed and were deemed eligible, have now received a payment. In response to the pandemic, the department has also extended benefits for an additional 20 weeks.
The federal supplemental benefit (known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC) that increased weekly unemployment benefits by $600, expired on July 25. Because this is a federal benefit, New Jersey is prohibited by law from paying the benefit for any week ending beyond July 25, unless new federal legislation is passed. Benefits are continuing to be issued for any eligible weeks, April 4 through July 25.
You can check the status of your claim here.
Additional Assistance through FEMA Funding
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJ DLWD) submitted an application on August 26 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance (LWA), which provides limited additional benefits to many of the state’s unemployed workers (up to $300 per week to claimants collecting unemployment for the weeks of August 1; August 8; and August 15.) Only people whose unemployment is COVID-related are eligible, under terms of the memorandum the President issued. Additionally, those receiving less than $100 in weekly unemployment benefits are excluded from the supplemental benefit. Payments will be issued by NJ DLWD, but not until funds are received and a system is set in place. We will post more information on this as it becomes available. Read the press release to learn more.
Here are the four most frequently asked questions:
- "What does it mean if my claim is pending, or not payable at this time?" Answer
- "What if I see a message to contact the call center or speak to an agent?" Answer
- "Why does my claim show $0 in the WBR amount?" Answer
- "How can I reset my PIN or password?" Answer
Here are some further answers to even more frequently asked questions.
Are you having trouble when certifying for weekly benefits? Here's how to answer those questions during the pandemic so that things will go smoothly. It is well worth your time to review this document, as wrong answers will likely stop your weekly certification process thereby delaying your unemployment benefit payment.
Employees who are out of work are encouraged to visit the NJ Department of Labor website to access information about benefits and to file claims. Read through the worker stories to determine which benefits program best fits your situation.
For self-employed NJ workers there is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This is a new program authorized by Congress to provide unemployment benefits to workers not eligible for regular unemployment. In addition to people who are self-employed or independent contractors, this includes those who do not have enough recent earnings to receive regular unemployment benefits.
Workers in this group, who have applied for regular unemployment and been denied, do not have to do anything further. Payments will be sent starting in the end of April. Those who have not yet applied are encouraged to review the guides offered here and begin the process of applying for PUA.
If you have questions about filing for unemployment, please visit this site. Filing online is the fastest way to receive benefits. The NJ Department of Labor offers specific tips on filing because of a coronavirus work situation. If you are unable to file online, you may follow these steps to file over the phone.
If you are missing wages from your employer, or not being given your New Jersey earned sick leave, please file a claim.
If you are looking for a job, please visit this jobs portal. Many positions are available.
You may find additional resources and answers to frequently asked questions at the state's COVID-19 website.
Earned Sick Leave and Family Care
New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law covers public health emergencies – employees can use Earned Sick Leave if their workplace or child’s school or daycare is closed due to an epidemic, or if a public health authority determines the need for a quarantine.
Earned Sick Leave can be used for self-care, or for a person to care for a family member, which includes a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, parent or grandparent, domestic or civil union partner, anyone related by blood to the employee, or anyone whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family. Details on this and more can be found at the NJ Department of Labor website.