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Work share program updates

Update 5/18/21: The NJ DOL approved the Rutgers/URA-AFT shared work program application. This means that applications for unemployment insurance benefits for furloughs beginning the week of 5/16/21 will be paid (assuming your individual claim is approved) as planned.

Update 5/15/21: Last Monday, we shared with members management’s list of those eligible to furlough. Thank you to everyone for assisting in verifying that list. We had a tremendous response. Working as a union, we compiled a list of corrections for the final roster. There may still be mistakes, but we are working and meeting with UHR and the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJ DOL) to correct them as soon as possible. 

On Friday, the plan was sent to NJ DOL for approval. We have not received approval at this time. On late Friday afternoon, Sr. VP Vivian Fernandez sent her email providing instructions on filing for unemployment.

If you are eligible for furlough, you will receive a separate email from your department
 with an Official Notification from your department with the agreed furlough day of the week through the duration of the program.
If you are ineligible for the furlough program, you already should have received an email telling you are exempted.

If you have a furlough day scheduled, take it as planned. Until the NJ DOL approves the plan, when you apply for unemployment benefits, your claim will remain pending. If the DOL does not approve the plan retroactively, you will be made whole. 

Work share program resources

  1. Resources to help you apply
  2. Claims from out-of-state must be made by phone

Apply by phone (see 5/14/21 memo) if you don’t have a New Jersey driver’s license or state ID. If you call in and complete the automated questionnaire, you don’t have to keep calling to speak to a live agent. NJDOL has a list of out-of-state employees who might use the phone system. So don’t worry if you are asked for little of the information you were instructed to gather—your responses will be enough for NJDOL staff to match you to the list of work-sharing participants from Rutgers.

If you haven’t yet completed the automated input questionnaire, please call today between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. After you apply by phone, you will need to set up direct deposit afterwards by following these instructions (external link to Rutgers AAUP-AFT).

3. Victims of unemployment fraud

NJDOL plans to call you to clear you for benefits if you’ve been identified as a victim of fraud. If you haven’t already, you should email UHR at hr_operations@hr.rutgers.edu and provide a cell number so NJDOL can reach you. We also provided the cell phone numbers that we had on file for union members already.

Please pick up calls if they come from an unknown or blocked number (watch for these two numbers in particular: 732–761-2020 and 201–601-4100). If it’s an agent from NJDOL, answer their questions—you should be done and ready to receive benefits.

4. Problems creating a new NJ DOL UI account

You need to get your information to UHR so they can put your name and information on a list of people that NJDOL needs to clear up. You can email UHR at hr_operations@hr.rutgers.edu. Give as much information as you can remember about the problems you encountered, including where in the process you were prevented from applying and what error message you saw. 

5. NJDOL Snail Mail You Can Ignore

You may get a standard mailing from NJDOL to your home address after your claim is approved. This is good news. Some of the forms you get may have information that is confusing. No action is required. UHR has a detailed list of communications you might receive from NJDOL and whether any action is required. Above all, if you receive any communication telling you to certify weekly for continued unemployment payments or to set up appointments to certify, ignore it. 

6. NJDOL Emails You Should NOT Ignore

Some of you received emails from NJDOL marked “E‑adjudication” or indicating that there are “Unresolved Issues on your Claim” that ask you to complete a form. This is a routine email that indicates NJDOL thinks you answered a question incorrectly. You need to complete the form linked in the email and indicate if you answered a question inaccurately.

These “unresolved issues” are usually the result of people making a mistake with questions on the standard unemployment form that don’t make sense in our situation. These questions are meant for people who have lost employment, not people in a work-sharing program. If you keep this in mind, it will help you answer the questions correctly. Here are a few questions that we know about:

  • Are you able and willing to work full time? (please answer “yes”)
  • Do you expect to be recalled by this employer? (please answer “no”)
  • Are you receiving benefits from a pension or retirement fund (unless you are getting a pension from another institution, please answer “no”; some of you were mixed up because you are contributing to a retirement fund, but you are not receiving distributions from it).

Have the 5/14/21 UHR memo on filing for unemployment handy to help you answer the questions. Unfortunately, though, the follow-up forms from NJDOL ask for some of the same information from the original application, but with different wording. Here is some information you may need for these follow-up questionnaires:

  • Employer address: Rutgers University NJ, c/o Corporate Cost Control, P.O. Box 1180, Londonderry, NH 03053
  • Employer phone number: (800) 207‑6926
  • Last day physically worked with employer: 05/15/2021
  • Date of separation from employer: 05/15/2021
  • Your rate of pay: This is the gross earnings for the last 12 months that the UHR instructions tell you to gather from your myRutgers portal.
  • Type of pay: Annual
  • Reason for separation: Select “Other” and enter: “Hours reduced—COVID-19-related”
  • Please explain why you were separated from your job: Hours reduced—COVID-19-related

Work share: immediate action requested by 5/11/21

Work Share Program Update: Review and comment on this Workshare Roster by noon on 5/11/21

Update: Today we received the list from Rutgers UHR showing who is expected to be eligible to participate in the work share program and furloughs.  This is the list that is intended to be attached with our work sharing program application that goes to the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJ DOL). The application must be signed by both the employer and union.  As a union, we now have the opportunity to provide final input about the list’s accuracy.

Background: UHR prepared a preliminary list showing who might not be eligible to participate in the work share program because of leave status, secondary appointments, layoff/recall, etc. Then, UHR sent the preliminary list to the departments to verify or modify it. Departments were additionally asked to exclude anyone who is fully grant funded, known to be potentially ineligible because of a second job, or who serves a critical operational need.Here is what we need every union member to do right now:

  • Review: the list provided by UHR
  • Look for your name to determine if UHR considers you eligible to participate in work sharing (i.e. you will be expected to furlough).
  • Report back to us about whether or not the list is accurate. Respond to us no later than 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 by clicking here

What not to do:

  • Do not request to be furloughed or not furloughed because of a preference; stick to the official reasons listed in our form
  • Do not apply for New Jersey Unemployment benefits yet. You will receive instructions from both us and Rutgers about how and when to apply.

What happens next?

We will communicate with UHR about any inaccuracies in the list. Assuming those issues are resolved, the application to the NJ DOL will be finalized and hopefully approved quickly in time for you to begin your furlough days (and for you to apply for unemployment benefits).