On October 27, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law (P.L. 2010, c.82), which revises the unemployment insurance (UI) claims procedures to address certain abuses occurring in the UI system. The legislature attributed the problems to third-party agents that were hired to represent corporations in unemployment claims, which in turn often resulted in the improper delay or denial of UI benefits to laid off workers. The new law provides for a detailed mechanism for the registration and regulation of authorized agents representing employers in UI claims, and sets forth detailed requirements the registered agents must follow when handling UI claims (such as identifying prerequisites to adjournment requests, obligating them to promptly notify their clients of the dates of proceedings, etc.). Additionally, the law provides for an increase in the amount of time for both employers and claimants to appeal initial claim determinations to 7 calendar days after delivery of the notification or 10 calendar days after the notice is mailed, and an increase in the amount of time for both employers and claimants to appeal final decisions to 20 days. The law also provides that an employer’s UI account will not be charged for the amount of an overpayment of benefits if the overpayment is caused by an error of the Division of Unemployment and Temporary Disability Insurance. Governor Christie previously vetoed a prior version of this bill which would have eliminated repayment obligations of recipients of unemployment benefit overpayments. The law is effective immediately.

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