Bill to extend jobless benefits signed into law

Legislation to allow extended unemployment benefits to laid-off workers has been signed into law.

The bill, A3794, allows laid-off workers to continue to collect extended jobless benefits for much, if not all, of 2011.

The bill  implements an option provided by the federal Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 to allow extended benefits.

The federal option makes it likely that extended benefits will be continued, according to a release, because the unemployment rate in New Jersey would have to be no more than 110 percent of the 2008 jobless rates of between 4.2 percent to 6 percent, far below the current rate of 9.1 percent.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblymen Joseph Egan, (D-17), New Brunswick; Daniel Benson, (D-14), Hamilton; and Wayne DeAngelo, (D-14), Hamilton.

The Senate version, S2680, was sponsored by Fred Madden, (D-4), Gloucester, and Jim Beach, (D-6), Camden.

“Given the prolonged high unemployment rate in our state, extending these benefits throughout most, if not all, of this year, is the right thing to do,” Benson said in a release.

“We’re happy to continue a safety net, in cooperation with the federal government, for more than 60,000 unemployed people in New Jersey as our economy slowly improves and our small, but steady job growth continues,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a release.

Bill to extend jobless benefits signed into law