Denying unemployment to seasonal workers at the Jersey Shore

    It could be a difficult winter for some of the lifeguards, bartenders and boardwalk employees who work summers at the Jersey Shore if lawmakers act on legislation to cut unemployment benefits for seasonal employees.

    NewsWorks New Jersey reporting partner NJ Spotlight reports a bill was introduced that would require the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to identify specific seasonal jobs, define their length to any period less than 36 weeks and deny workers who fill those jobs the opportunity to collect unemployment in the off-season.

    What do you think of the proposed bill? Should seasonal workers be eligible for unemployment benefits?Tell us in the comments below.

    The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Belford) and Assemblymen Sean Kean (R-Wall Twp.) and Anthony Bucco (R-Randolph), specifically targets workers who received reasonable assurance that they would be rehired the following season and were, in fact, rehired.

    NJ Spotlight says the legislation excludes construction workers and sets up separate parameters for agricultural workers. The legislation does not offer any exceptions for the 40-50,000 seasonal employees who typically work from May to September.

    According to NJ Spotlight, there has been no related bill introduced in the Senate and no action in the Assembly bill in the Labor Committee.

    “I view the bill as a matter of fairness to the people of New Jersey who’ve genuinely fallen on hard times and need support from our dwindling pool of unemployment funds that have been taken away by people hwo’ve found various ways to game the system,” Assemblywoman Handlin told NJ Spotlight

    You can read the rest of writer Tara Nurin’s story on the NJ Spotlight website.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.