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Shared Work Furlough FAQs

Common Shared Work Furlough Unemployment Questions

If I need to get in touch with the unemployment office, how do I contact them?
What do I do if I receive the error message “Unfortunately, we are unable to create a NEW account for you. Please click the link below “Return to Login Page” where you may reset your User Name and Password. Bad Request?

You likely already have an online account created with the email addressed you used. First you will need to reset your password with the email you used to try to create the account. If that doesn't work, submit a message through unemployment's new online form. Fill in first page of the form and click "Next." Select “Trouble Creating an Account (Password Reset)" to submit a request to reset your password. After the unemployment office reviews your request, they will email instructions so you can reset your password.

If I receive an email or a mailed letter from Unemployment titled E-Adjudication Issue Clarification Questionnaire or BC326 – Claimant’s Statement for Issue Clarification do I need to respond to it?

Yes, if the unemployment office is asking you for more information or to verify information you must respond to the communication whether it’s mailed letter, email or a phone call. Mention that you are part of the Rutgers Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program also.

If I receive a BC9 – Unemployment Insurance Instructions and Appointment Notice in the mail do I need to follow the instructions in the letter?

No, do not follow the instructions asking you to certify for unemployment benefits. Ins Unemployment office will certify for benefits for you because we are part of an approved shared work furlough program.

My claim has been filed and according to direction from UHR and the NJ DOL, benefit payments are supposed to be paid on Tuesdays, but I have not seen my payment yet – what’s going on?

While benefit payments are typically paid on Tuesdays as per NJ DOL guidelines, the Division of Unemployment is extremely overwhelmed with the number of claims that have been filed and your payments may be delayed. Please be patient. Do NOT try to certify for benefits online to get your payment faster – the terms of our shared work furlough program indicate that the state will certify for benefits for employees participating in the program.

On the unemployment application, it asks if I am "able and available for work." How should I answer thais question?

Since your work hours are only being reduced a percentage of your normal work schedule as a participant in a shared work furlough program you should answer "Yes" to this question. You are still working the remainder of your normal work hours and are an active employee.

What if I suspect a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed using my personal information?

If you suspect that someone is collecting unemployment benefits illegally please report it to the unemployment fraud unit.

Furlough Overview

What is a furlough?

Furloughs are temporary reductions in an employee’s days of work as a means to mitigate unexpected and severe financial losses to the university. As a furloughed employee, you remain in active status and eligible for all benefits originally afforded to you pursuant to university and/or applicable collective negotiations agreements.

How is my shared work furlough schedule determined?

The schedule is determined by departmental leadership to maintain business operations.

If I have received a layoff notice, am I still required to participate in a shared work furlough program during my notice period?

No, if you have received a layoff notice you will not be required to participate in a shared work furlough program.

If I have a confirmed retirement date and currently using my vacation time prior to my retirement date, do I have to participate in a shared work furlough program, and can I apply for unemployment?

No, if you are a non-aligned employee and retiring you will not be participating in a shared work furlough program and cannot apply for unemployment.

What shared work furlough program resources is Rutgers providing?

University Human Resources has expanded their layoff guidance website to include shared work furlough guidance resources including a checklist for both employees and managers, frequently asked questions and a shared work furlough gross income estimator which are available at - https://discover-uhr.rutgers.edu/layoff-resources/home

Can I change my furlough days if I need to?

No, once you have confirmed your furlough days and have received a furlough notification letter with your furlough schedule you cannot change the days.

Can I conduct any work-related activities such as sending/receiving emails during my shared work furlough day?

Employees must not be performing any work-related activities from 12:01 a.m. through midnight on the dates of their shared work furlough days.

Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program

What is the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program?

The Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program is a program that allows for temporary reductions in an employee’s scheduled work hours and compensation to help mitigate a fiscal emergency, thereby minimizing layoffs wherever possible.

Participants in the Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program are not laid off.  The salaries of program participants are reduced in an amount equal to the temporary time off. As a furloughed employee, you remain in active status and your employee benefits are not affected. Participants are eligible to apply for New Jersey state unemployment benefits regardless of their residence.

Who is Included in the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program?

Non-aligned staff employees, both exempt and non-exempt, whose positions are not represented by a labor union and whose terms of employment are not governed by a collective negotiation agreement are included in the work-share furlough program.  This includes all Managerial, Professional, Supervisory, and Confidential (MPSC) employees.

When will the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program be taking place?

The Non-Aligned Employee Work-Share Furlough Program will have two phases and will spread furlough days across the fiscal year to minimize individual financial impact and accommodate the operational needs of the university.  This two-phased approach also provides the flexibility to align program timing with any expansion of the enhanced unemployment benefits.

When are the phases of the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program supposed to happen?
Phase I – July 2020

The first phase will require each non-aligned employee be furloughed one (1) day a week during the period of July 6, 2020 through July 25, 2020 for a total of three (3) furlough days.  The July period is designated in order to minimize the financial impact on furloughed employees.  During this period, eligible employees will receive $600 for each week that a furlough day is taken under the benefit program authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  These benefits are scheduled to expire at the end of July 2020 but may be extended by Congress.

Phase 2 – January 2021 through March 2021

During this period, all 12-month non-aligned employees will be furloughed for a total of seven (7) days and 10-month employees will be furloughed for a total of five (5) days beginning January 24th, 2021. During this period, eligible employees will receive partial state unemployment benefits and $300 in enhanced federal benefits for each week that a furlough day is taken under the recently passed stimulus legislation.

How will participation in the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program be determined?

Chancellors and Senior Leadership Team members are reviewing rosters and designating specific furlough days for all participants.  An exception may be granted for employees whose positions fall under the categories of Grant/External Funding, Direct Patient Care, or Other as follows:

  • Employees who provide direct patient care, or
  • If the position is funded at 55% or more through research grants or external funding sources, an exception may be granted, or
  • In rare circumstances, for specific mission-critical and time-sensitive job functions and a justification from the Chancellor/SVP will be required.

Exceptions should be requested through your chancellor or senior leadership team member. If you have requested an exception, please follow-up with your department.

How will I be notified of my participation in the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program?

All participants will receive a shared work furlough confirmation letter. You do not need to receive the notification letter in order to apply for unemployment if you are part of the Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program.

If your exception is approved you will receive an exception confirmation email from University Human Resources.

Do you know if Aligned employees will be asked to participate in a furlough?

Any shared work programs for aligned employees will be formally communicated in advance, if such programs are considered and approved.

Benefits

How will my medical insurance coverage be impacted?

Medical, dental and prescription drug coverage will remain active during the furlough. Changes to plans are not permitted at this time. You are responsible for the full employee contribution based on your full annual base salary.

What happens to my life insurance?

Life insurance coverage continues. If you are a member of PERS, deductions will continue.

Am I entitled to earn paid time off?

Yes, your existing vacation and sick leave accruals are not affected. In addition, you will continue to accrue vacation and sick time at your normal FTE.

Can I use my paid time off?

You may still use your accrued sick, vacation, PLB, Administrative Leave (AL), Mandatory Leave (ML) days and Personal Holidays (PH) for a day you are scheduled to work only.

Impact on Tuition Remission? Tuition Reimbursement?

You will retain all benefits afforded to you as per your contact and applicable university policy.

Will my contributions continue with my ABP account?

Yes, the Employee (5%) and Employer (8%) contributions will continue, based on the actual earnings of the payroll period, not the annual base salary.

Will my contributions continue with my PERS account?

Yes, you are eligible to continue employee contributions, 7.5% pre-tax based on your regular annual base salary, provided your actual earnings per pay period (after primary deductions) is sufficient to cover the contributions. If you have questions about how missed contributions may impact your years of service, please contact OneSource at 732-745-SERV (7378).

I am a PERS member, can I access the funds in my retirement account?

Yes, please log onto the Member Benefits Online System (https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/) for information on loan options.

I am a PERS member, if I have adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off; or having work hours reduced due to COVID-19, do I qualify to have loan payments suspended?

Yes, you can have loan payments suspended until December 31st. For more information review the New Jersey Department of Pension & Benefits Loan Suspension FAQ. To request a suspension send a Request for Suspension of Loan Repayment Under the CARES Act (can be submitted directly to NJDPB via mail or email).

I am an ABP member, can I access the funds in my retirement account?

Yes, please contact your investment carrier for information on loan options.

AXA Equitable 1-866-752-0072
Mass Mutual 1-848-248-4875
VOYA Financial 1-877-873-0321
Met Life 1-800-543-2520
TIAA 1-800-842-8412
AIG (formerly VALIC) 1-800-448-2542
Prudential 1-855-652-2711

 

Will I still have the option to contribute to my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) with WageWorks?

Yes, your FSA membership will remain active.

Changes to your contributions are allowed within 60 days of the status change. Please fill out the Special Enrollment form (https://www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/documents/taxsave/taxsave-enroll.pdf) and return to WageWorks.

Will I still have the option to contribute to my Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) with WageWorks?

Yes, your Dependent Care FSA membership will remain active.

Changes to your contributions are allowed within 60 days of the status change. Please fill out the Special Enrollment form (https://www.nj.gov/treasury/pensions/documents/taxsave/taxsave-enroll.pdf) and return to WageWorks.

Will I still have the option to contribute to my Voluntary Tax-Savings Accounts (Deferred Compensation, 403b/ACTS, and/or SACT account?

Yes, you are eligible to continue employee contributions, should you be interested in changing your contributions, please see the details below:

What is the impact on short and long-term disability?

As an active employee you can still apply for Temporary Disability Insurance benefits through the NJ Department of Labor. The Long-Term Disability benefits remain active.

Leave of Absence

Can I still apply for a leave of absence if I have been furloughed?

If you have a qualifying leave reason you may still apply for a leave of absence and the terms of your furlough will still apply.

If I apply for the leave and it is approved will I still be furloughed?

If you are approved for a leave of absence, it will not change your furlough status. You will still be subject to the terms in your furlough notification letter.

If I am currently on a leave and receive a furlough notification letter, will I still be subject to the terms of the furlough letter?

Yes, you will still be subject to the terms in your furlough notification letter.

If I am furloughed during a paid leave of absence will I be able to charge the previously designated paid time off days at a later date?

Yes, you will still be subject to the terms in your furlough notification letter.

If I am currently on a Worker's Compensation Leave of Absence am I required to participate in a Shared Work Furlough Program?

No, if you are currently on Worker's Compensation Leave of Absence you are not eligible to participate in a Shared Work Furlough Program.

Unemployment

What if I suspect a fraudulent unemployment claim has been filed using my personal information?

If you suspect that someone is collecting unemployment benefits illegally please report it to the unemployment fraud unit.

If I need to get in touch with the unemployment office, how do I contact them?
What do I do if I receive the error message “Unfortunately, we are unable to create a NEW account for you. Please click the link below “Return to Login Page” where you may reset your User Name and Password. Bad Request?”

You likely already have an online account created with the email addressed you used. First you will need to reset your password with the email you used to try to create the account. If that doesn't work, submit a message through unemployment's new online form. Fill in first page of the form and click "Next." Select “Trouble Creating an Account (Password Reset)" to submit a request to reset your password. After the unemployment office reviews your request, they will email instructions so you can reset your password.

If I receive an email or a mailed letter from Unemployment titled E-Adjudication Issue Clarification Questionnaire or BC326 – Claimant’s Statement for Issue Clarification do I need to respond to it?

Yes, if the unemployment office is asking you for more information or to verify information you must respond to the communication whether it’s mailed letter, email or a phone call. Mention that you are part of the Rutgers Non-Aligned Shared Work Furlough Program also.

If I receive a BC9 – Unemployment Insurance Instructions and Appointment Notice in the mail do I need to follow the instructions in the letter?

No, do not follow the instructions asking you to certify for unemployment benefits. Ins Unemployment office will certify for benefits for you because we are part of an approved shared work furlough program.

My claim has been filed and according to direction from UHR and the New Jersey Department of Labor, benefit payments are supposed to be paid on Tuesdays, but I have not seen my payment yet – what’s going on?

While benefit payments are typically paid on Tuesdays as per NJ DOL guidelines, the Division of Unemployment is extremely overwhelmed with the number of claims that have been filed and your payments may be delayed. Please be patient. Do NOT try to certify for benefits online to get your payment faster – the terms of our shared work furlough program indicate that the state will certify for benefits for employees participating in the program.

How do I answer the question “Do you wish to have 10% Federal Income Tax withheld from your benefits?”

It depends on your preference. If you elect to have the 10% Federal Income Tax withheld, it will be withheld from each benefit payment. If you do not elect, you will pay the Federal Income Tax on the total amount of the benefit received in 2020 when you file your 2020 income tax return.

Can I apply for a dependency benefits for my unemployment benefits?
I do not live in New Jersey, but work at Rutgers University and am part of a Shared Work Furlough Program – can I still apply for unemployment?

Yes, employees and employers pay Unemployment tax for the state in which they work. You will apply for unemployment in New Jersey since Rutgers is a New Jersey employer.

I filed my unemployment application successfully, but my claim status is Pending, what do I do?

Claims can take up to 7 business days to be filed but may take longer. If you need to reach out to unemployment you can send the unemployment office an email regarding the status of your claim – please indicate that you are part of the Rutgers Shared Work Furlough Program.

Is it possible to make too much that I wouldn’t qualify for Unemployment Benefits?

You can use the Shared Work Furlough Gross Income Estimator to get an estimate of what your furlough paycheck could look like - https://discover-uhr.rutgers.edu/layoff-resources/furlough-calculator

If I am a newly hired employee, but worked in another state, am I eligible for unemployment benefits under the Shared Work Furlough Program?

The Rutgers Shared Work Furlough Program is only for employees of Rutgers who are participating in an approved program. You may need to meet unemployment eligibility requirements – if you are unable to file an application for unemployment please contact the unemployment office via email through this link- https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/help/contact-us/index.shtml#email