New Jersey Unemployment Insurance – TDI – FLI – Earned Sick Leave Information

New Jersey Unemployment Insurance benefits are meant for people who lose their job “through no fault of their own,” such as an employer’s lack of work or a layoff due to downsizing. If you voluntarily quit your job for reasons that were not work-related, or you were terminated for misconduct, your eligibility will need to be reviewed.

Important information for claiming weekly benefits due to the coronavirus emergency can be found here.

To qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements of the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law. Those who meet the requirements may receive benefits for up to 26 weeks during a one-year period.

The $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill being considered by Congress contains a substantial increase in unemployment benefits.  The legislation offers an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance, funded by the federal government. The bill also gives an additional $600 a week for up to four months.  This would be in addition to the current jobless benefits offered by New Jersey.  The expanded benefits would last through December 2020. 

To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits in 2020, you must have earned at least $200 per week (a base week) during 20 or more weeks in covered employment during the base year period, or you must have earned at least $10,000 in total covered employment during the base year period. For more information, click here.

To be eligible for partial benefits, you cannot work more than 80 percent of the hours normally worked in the job. For example, if you worked a 40-hour week, you won’t be able to get benefits if you work more than 32 hours. If your employer offers additional hours that you choose not to accept, your benefits may be affected.

After you first qualify for benefits, you will need to meet some additional requirements in order to keep receiving them.

New Jersey also has some of the most comprehensive Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance laws in the country, which cover all employees – full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal.

Governor Murphy also signed into law this week an expansion of the State’s Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Family Leave Insurance (FLI) programs to provide more workers with access to paid leave benefits during public health emergencies.

The new law expands the definition of a “serious health condition” to allow individuals access to TDI and FLI benefits during a public health emergency if they must take time off of work because they are diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease or to take care of a family member diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease. 

The law also expands New Jersey’s earned sick leave law to permit the use of earned sick time for isolation or quarantine recommended or ordered by a provider or public health official as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or to care for a family member under recommended or ordered isolation or quarantine. 

Furthermore, federal legislation becomes effective April 2 that will provide 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to employees of employers with fewer than 500 employees – beyond the maximum of 40 hours of paid leave to which all New Jersey employees are entitled under the state’s earned sick leave law – to employees who are stricken with COVID-19, those who have been exposed to the virus and workers whose child’s school has been closed or who cannot access child care due to COVID-19. 

Parents whose child’s school has been closed, or who cannot access child care due to COVID-19, will also be eligible starting April 2 for leave under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.  The first 10 days of the expanded FMLA is unpaid.  The remaining 10 weeks must be paid by the employer. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also includes extended unemployment benefits; however, New Jersey has not qualified for these benefits at this time. If New Jersey does qualify for the extended benefits, applicants may not need to do anything new. Information will be posted on our website as it becomes available.  

Lastly, the following bill also currently sits on the Govenor’s desk and awaits his action:

A-3846 – Creates “Temporary Lost Wage Unemployment Program;” allows persons to claim for lost wages due to coronavirus disease 2019, and employers to pay wages to workers ordered under quarantine by a licensed healthcare practitioner; appropriates $20,000,000.

This bill allows individuals affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic to recoup actual lost wages due to absence from work under certain circumstances and to assist employers who pay wages to workers who are ordered under quarantine by a licensed healthcare practitioner as a result of coronavirus disease 2019.  

Specifically, the program will provide, to the extent funds are available, monetary relief to individuals for actual lost wages in an amount that is equivalent to the individual’s average weekly rate of compensation from the past calendar year, if the individuals do not have fully paid leave.  The Department of Labor and Workforce Development will use moneys in the fund, in an amount not to exceed $10,000,000, to pay the lost wages of individuals due to:         

     (1)   the individual’s absence from work due to the need to care for a family member;

     (2)   the individual’s absence from work due to the illness of the individual;

     (3)   the individual’s absence from work due to school or childcare facility being closed; and

     (4)   for such other purposes as determined by the commissioner.

No moneys shall be paid to an individual for any period or wages for which the individual receives benefits pursuant to the “unemployment compensation law,” R.S.43:21-1 et seq. 

Moneys in the fund may be supplemented or replaced, or both, by any amounts received from the federal government for the same purposes as provided in the bill.

Additionally, the department will use moneys in the fund, not to exceed $10,000,000, to assist employers who pay wages to workers who are ordered under quarantine by a licensed healthcare practitioner as a result of coronavirus disease 2019.

COVID-19: New Guidelines Issued for Construction

The Department of Community Affairs has issued new guidelines as it pertains to the construction industry’s concerns about the interruption of plan review and inspection responsibilities, State and local, due to COVID 19.
Pursuant to Executive Orders 107 and 108, at this time, local enforcing agencies cannot restrict code officials from performing their obligations under the Uniform Construction Code, N.J.A.C. 5:23.
The memo below provides information on:
Guidance for construction offices:
  • Pertaining to prioritizing necessary inspections for the health and welfare of the public.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs offers advisement on required inspections, rough inspections and final inspections.
  
Guidance for construction offices that had to close:
  • Dealing with permits that were issues prior to closure.
  • Certificate of Continued Occupancy inspections
  
Please click here for the full document from the NJ Department of Community Affairs

Click here for information on an emergency adoption of a temporary rule relaxation of the regulatory provisions concerning Minor work (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.17A), Inspections (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18), and Certificate requirements (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23).

COVID-19 PE License Updates

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the country, updates have been made to this year’s professional engineering license renewal process. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, renewal applications and CEU’s have been extended until June 30, 2020.

The following is updated information for renewal:

  • Renewals were mailed to your address of record in February, 2020 and are not available online.
  • Licenses will remain active beginning April 1, 2020 for a two year period.
  • Renewal fee  –  $80.00
  • July 1, 2020 – July 31, 2020 Renewal Grace (Late) Period
  • Renewal fee  –  $80.00 + $50.00 late fee   =  $130.00
  • August 1, 2020  –  August 31, 2020  –  Reinstatement Period
  • Renewal fee  –  $80.00 + $125.00 Reinstatement Fee  =  $205.00

Application Deadlines

The date to submit the PE Application has changed from April 19, 2020 to May 11, 2020.
PE documentation has also changed from June 14,  2020 to July 6, 2020.

In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, we encourage you to communicate with the Department of Law and Public Safety via telephone, email, and other forms of remote communication should you have any questions about these renewal updates. 

Earning PDHs at home

All of NJSPE’s upcoming continuing education events have been postponed until further notice. We know that many of you were planning on attending these events to fulfill your remaining credits. While this COVID-19 process is changing day-to-day, you can still be proactive and earn CE credits from home! 

Professional Engineering Ethics 101
$35 for members / $50 for nonmembers
Learn more and purchase course >>

Free CE Courses from NSPE
See a list of free courses courtesy of NSPE
Learn more >>

Available Online Courses from NSPE
See all that NSPE has to offer from their selection of on-demand courses
Learn more >>

A reminder to PEs

Regulations on digital signatures as well as practice “social distancing”
N.J. Admin. Code § 13:27-6.5
Section 13:27-6.5 – Digital signatures and seals

(a) A digital signature and seal shall possess the same weight, authority, and effect as a handwritten signature and pressure seal when the following criteria are met:

The digital signing and sealing process satisfies the requirements of the Digital Signature Standard (DSS) established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, FIPS PUB 186-4 (2013), which is incorporated herein by reference, as amended and supplemented.

. The digital signature and seal must be:

i. Unique to the licensee;

ii. Verifiable by a trusted third party or some other approved process as belonging to the licensee;

iii. Under the licensee’s direct and exclusive control;

iv. Linked to a document in such a manner that the digital signature and seal is invalidated if any data in the document is changed. Once the digital signature and seal are applied to the document, the document shall be available in read-only format if the document is to be digitally transmitted.

(b) A licensee who digitally signs and seals a document shall maintain a digital copy of the electronically transmitted document that has also been digitally signed and sealed for future verification purposes.

(c) The pictorial representation of the digital signature and seal shall be readily available to the Board upon request and shall be produced in a manner acceptable to the Board. It shall contain the same words and shall have substantially the same graphic appearance and size as when the image of the digitally transmitted document is viewed at the same size as the document in its original form.

(d) Licensees are responsible for the use of their private digital keys. A lost or compromised key shall not be used and the licensee shall cause a new key pair to be generated in accordance with the criteria set forth in (a) above. A licensee shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a compromised key is invalidated, and shall inform all affected clients that the digital key has been compromised.

Keep an eye on our website and social media for more information regarding any changes due to COVID-19. 

Free CE Courses Just in Time for PE License Renewal

The professional engineering license renewal deadline is quickly approaching on April 30, 2020. If you’re still working on fulfilling your PDHs, have no fear! NSPE offers a select number of free CEs for members to enjoy from the comfort of their own home. Upon completion of the webinar, you must take a session quiz and score a 70 percent or higher to earn your credits. Each of these courses will earn you one professional development hour. Check out the featured free CEs below and have your NSPE membership login on hand to register for free!

Clients are from Venus, Consultants from Mars: A Guide to Effective Management of Consultants

This webinar will showcase the differences between the systems and workflows of clients and consultants so that they can better understand each other’s operating environment. This improved understanding will result in better communications and better mutual expectations.  

Learn more and register >>

How Engineers Create Added Value

This course will take a look at the value gap between engineering services and other professional services like attorneys, accountants, etc. Lecturer Mel Lester will explain the reasons why creating added value has become an issue for engineers and what you can do to creatively add value and deliver results.

Learn more and register >> 

Drones: The Sky’s the Limit

This webinar provides a high-level overview of how drones are being integrated into engineering and surveying projects. The course will also cover the workflow of a project and deliverables while highlighting the accuracies and limitations of drones. You’ll learn the best types of projects for the use of drones, how to weigh the pros and cons of using a drone on a project, and the FAA rules surrounding drone use for commercial applications

Learn more and register >>

Professional Engineer’s Role on Application of Artificial Intelligence and Technology

In a world of rapidly changing technology, professional engineers have to be Future Ready professionals and adapt to the new changes. This course describes the disruption professional engineers face and the patterns that are surfacing with the changes in technology. This course will cover some of the primary skills that professional engineers are finding most critical in their own work and the systems they are working with.

Learn more and register >> 

Winds of Changes – Electric Transmission

This course will focus on Xcel Energy – one of the fastest-growing, investor-owned utilities. Xcel Energy’s position as the industry leader in wind generation for over 12 years has impacted the way we plan and operate our transmission system. It will discuss renewable resources’ impact on the electric grid, review ways utilities are helping enable technology while keeping prices low and reliability high, look at policy changes facing the integration of renewable energy and identify best practices to engage the public on challenges with renewable energy.

Learn more and register >>

To see more of NSPE’s 15 free CEs, visit their website >>

See more upcoming CE events and paid courses with NJSPE here >>

What Does the Future Hold for the Engineering Profession?

With new technological advancements, the profession of engineering is always changing and in constant demand for engineers. Year after year, engineering is a highly recommended career path for young students. The engineering profession provides security and it’s evolving nature keeps the work interesting. As we progress forward, we start to see trends in the profession and different concentrations of engineering demanding more than others. Let’s take a look at the future of engineering by concentration: 

Software engineering 

Software developers have the knowledge and skills to create things that run our everyday items like computers, tablets, and cellphones. As technology grows, so does this concentration of engineering. Software engineers are always adapting to new trends in technology and breaking the mold by producing new standards. As if the median income ($103,560) isn’t enticing enough, the projected employment change is +24 percent. 

Solar photovoltaic installers

The future is solar. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar photovoltaic installing is the fastest-growing occupation. These installers assemble, install, and maintain private and commercial solar panel setups to provide renewable energy. As more and more countries are under pressure to carbon emissions, more governments are finding the answer in solar panels. The projected employment change for this concentration is +105 percent. 

Biomedical engineering

Biomedical engineers create new equipment, systems, and software that is used to help advance the medical industry. Modern medicine is constantly striving to improve, so there’s no shortage of jobs for biomedical engineers. Not to mention, generations continue to live longer, more active lives. New advances in biomedical engineering will be needed to keep up with the demand for new devices and operations technology. The projected employment change in this concentration is +7 percent.

Civil engineering

Civil engineering is a necessary part of our everyday lives. From the roads we drive on to the tunnels we go through, civil engineering is everywhere. The population only continues to grow, which means our infrastructure environment must adapt to the change. New structures must be built and also old structures are constantly being repaired or replaced. Projects like new housing, transportation, and more keep civil engineers constantly busy and employed. The projected employment change for this industry is +11 percent.

These few examples of future growth in the engineering profession are just the tip of the iceberg. When choosing engineering as a career path, it’s hard to go wrong. The industry is constantly changing and growing. Luckily, engineers that are NJSPE members have the resources at their fingertips to continue education and stay ahead of the curve within the industry. 

NJSPE offers a variety of memberships for licensed engineers, enterprises, students, and engineers-in-training. Learn more about NJSPE and find a membership that fits your needs here.

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