Takeaway: Critical information below for: 1) faculty who are participating in work-sharing; 2) faculty who are exempt; and 3) faculty who have been told they are participating and think they should be excluded from the program.
University Human Resources (UHR) has sent an email about participation in the work-sharing program and advising you that you can begin applying for unemployment payments.
1. If you got the confirmation email from Vivian Fernández, you can start applying, but do NOT follow the instructions that came in the email; they are not the latest version. We’ve taken UHR’s latest instructions from their website and annotated them here to help highlight concerns and clarify potential confusion. See below for more about applying. Your department will send you a separate email soon with the day of the week and times you will be furloughing. Our union will be holding Q&A sessions throughout this week, with representatives from UHR attending, to help answer your questions.
2. If you didn’t get a confirmation email from UHR, you have been excluded from the program because of one of the exemptions we negotiated with management. You’ll get a different email from your department soon confirming that you are excluded. Don’t file for unemployment unless you got an email from UHR.
3. If you got an email saying you are participating in work-sharing and you think that you should be exempted, don’t file for unemployment. Notify your department right away that you have been mistakenly included in the program and fill out this Google form with more information about your individual situation so our union can help fix these mistakes.
You can click here to see the list of exemptions that should exclude you from the program. Some of you may have not been given a chance to tell anyone about, for example, outside employment that should exempt you. We have two weeks before your next paycheck to clear this up, but we want to start fixing problems immediately, so please fill out the Google form. Don’t file for unemployment.
For those of you who are participating in work-sharing, the email you got from UHR does NOT contain the latest version of the instructions you need to follow. We’ve annotated the latest version of the instructions to give you additional help. If you have problems applying, let us know by filling out this Google form so we can try to assist you. You’ll get a separate email from your department telling you what day of the week and time you will be furloughing.
Here are a few critical points to keep in mind about applying:
— You have the whole week to file your application, so don’t feel like you have to rush to get this done. Far better to take your time, gather all the information you will have to provide, and know the correct answers you will need to give than to file incorrectly, which will cause delays in your payments. If it takes longer than a week to apply, don’t worry—you will get payments retroactive to the start of the program.
— If you don’t have a New Jersey driver’s license or state ID, you will have to apply by phone (see the numbers to call in the instructions). The unemployment call center is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may face long hold times before you can get through, and some of you may need several tries. Make sure the instructions are in front of you when you finally get through—the agent will be asking you the same questions as you would answer in the online form. We’re sorry for this hassle, but there’s no way around it. And rest assured that no matter how long it takes to apply and be approved, you will get weekly payments for the full length of the program.
— When you apply, either online or by phone, DO NOT CERTIFY—no matter what a website, an email, or a live agent tells you. You are not unemployed, so you don’t need to certify that you are actively seeking employment. If you do begin certifying, your payments will be delayed until the problem is corrected by the NJ Department of Labor.
— The forms you will fill out online (or that will be completed for you by an agent over the phone) are created for people who are unemployed or at least laid off. Unfortunately, the NJ Department of Labor doesn’t have a special form for people who are furloughing under a work-sharing program. So some of the questions won’t apply to you. Follow the UHR instructions carefully and remember: you are still employed and working reduced hours.
We know you don’t want to spend time filling out online forms or waiting on hold. But faculty participation in work-sharing was the way we achieved progress on other critical priorities, like job security for our staff colleagues, a funding extension program for our grads, and payment of our negotiated salary increases. We thank you for putting up with this burden and for supporting our people-centered response to the pandemic.
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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