New Jersey Unemployment Job Search Requirements

New Jersey Unemployment Job Search Requirements

To receive New Jersey unemployment insurance benefits, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as being unemployed through no fault of your own, being able and available to work, and actively searching for work each week.

 New Jerseyans collecting UI benefits are expected to make a good-faith effort to find employment. This means actively searching for work and documenting job search efforts, as failure to do so could result in the loss of benefits. You can be asked to furnish work search contacts with prospective employers at any time during the life of your claim

New Jersey’s unemployment assistance not only provides temporary financial assistance, but also encourages reemployment for those who are able and willing to work.

New Jersey unemployment work search requirements

You report your work search activities when you file a weekly claim. You will be asked a series of questions to verify your eligibility for benefits. One of the questions you are asked is, “Did you search for work?” You must answer Yes to receive a weekly benefit.

To meet the work search requirement, you must record your job contacts and be able to provide documentation at any time during your unemployment claim.

How do I document my work search activities?

You must keep a record of each work search activity, such as the date and nature of each job contact, the name and address of the prospective employer, and the outcome of the contact. You can download a work search log from to help you keep track of your job contacts.

A minimum of three employer contacts per week, whether through phone, mail, internet, or in-person communication, is deemed a reasonable amount of effort.

Even if you were granted a work search waiver, you are still required to be able to work in order to collect weekly benefits. Sometimes, a job seeker will be granted a work search waiver in some situations, such as when you are in a pre-approved training program, secured employment through a union hiring hall, or temporarily laid off with a rehire date within eight weeks of the job separation.

You should conduct a variety of job search activities each week, using all available resources and methods. Acceptable work search methods can include telephone, internet, and in-person contacts with prospective employers, as well as sending out resumes and applying for work at job fairs.

By demonstrating that you are an active job seeker, you can maintain your eligibility for NJ unemployment benefits and increase your chances of finding suitable employment.

Do I need to accept a job that pays less than my previous salary while receiving unemployment insurance benefits?

Yes, while you are collecting New Jersey unemployment benefits, it is expected that you accept suitable work if offered, or you risk losing your benefit for up to 4 weeks. Suitable work is determined based on factors such as your work history, salary, skills, and commuting distance.

As you remain unemployed, you may need to expand your job search and be more willing to accept a job that pays less or requires a longer commute. If you decline a job offer, your claim will be reviewed by a claims examiner to determine whether you are still eligible for unemployment compensation.

What does it mean to receive an offer of suitable work?

When receiving unemployment insurance benefits, it is important to accept any offer of suitable work that is reasonably similar to your previous work experience in terms of location, type of work, and pay, including prior New Jersey unemployment benefits.

As the duration of unemployment increases, it becomes increasingly important to expand the search for suitable work, which may involve considering offers outside of your normal trade or occupation and accepting work at a lower pay rate to remain eligible for the UI benefit.

When determining suitable work, the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) considers the following factors:

  • Your physical fitness and prior training
  • Your work experience, prior earnings, and prior benefits
  • Risk to your health, safety, and morals
  • Your length of unemployment
  • Your usual field commuting distance

When it comes to wages, the NJDOL considers work to be suitable when it pays at least 80% of the claimant’s average weekly wage during the past year.

Since each person is different, the NJDOL evaluates individual circumstances to determine what constitutes suitable work. When you first start claiming UI benefits, you should search for jobs similar to your previous position in terms of job duties, distance, and salary. However, as time goes on, you may need to adjust your job requirements and accept a job with lower pay and a longer commute. Or, you may need to consider an entirely different type of job.

New Jersey Unemployment Job Training

Job training programs in New Jersey provide unemployed workers with essential skills and knowledge to enhance their employment prospects. These programs offer practical training and hands-on experience, enabling participants to learn new skills and adapt to changing industry demands.

The training programs are designed to meet the specific needs of unemployed workers, empowering them to secure employment and achieve long-term success. Unemployed workers can access valuable resources and opportunities that can lead to meaningful and fulfilling careers, helping to reduce unemployment rates and strengthen the local economy.

Self-enrolled Training

You may be able to organize your own training program and get it approved. Individuals seeking Unemployment Insurance benefits in New Jersey can potentially collect benefits while attending a training program, provided that the training is approved by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Applicants who self-enroll in training programs to enhance their job skills and employability must indicate this on their initial application or during the weekly certification when asked about school attendance. A claims examiner will reach out to determine if the training is approved, allowing you to continue receiving benefits without meeting some of the eligibility requirements.

Training programs approved for Unemployment Insurance benefits in New Jersey include occupational or skills-enhancement training such as technical and college programs.

For approval, the training must be for an occupation in demand. The program must also be full-time, and the training provider or school must have met all state and local requirements.

Beneficiaries must reasonably be expected to complete the program. On-the-job training or any other training where an employer pays the beneficiary for their time is not approved for claimants receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Additional Benefits During Training (ABT)

Eligible unemployed workers in New Jersey can get an unemployment extension for job training programs that last longer than their regular unemployment period.

Before joining the Additional Benefits During Training (ABT) program, you will need approval from an employment counselor. You must inform the department that you’re interested in training within 60 days of becoming unemployed.

You must work with a counselor to be considered for ABT or a training grant. To find a counselor, contact your local One Stop Career Center.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is a government program that helps US workers who have lost or may lose their jobs due to foreign trade. This program offers training, income support, job search allowances, relocation allowances, wage subsidies, and tax credits for health insurance.

The petition must be filed by groups of workers, company officials, unions, state workforce officials, and other state agencies. To qualify, a group of workers must file a petition with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) within a year of being laid off.

After an investigation, the USDOL determines if the group is eligible for TAA benefits and training services. If so, the workers will be notified and can apply for individual eligibility for the program’s employment services.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a federal program that provides funding to states to help job seekers access education, training, and support services that can help them get back to work. In New Jersey, WIOA is implemented through the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

WIOA provides a variety of job opportunities and employment services to help jobless workers gain the skills needed to secure employment, including career counseling, job search assistance, and training programs. Participants in WIOA can also receive financial assistance to cover the cost of training, as well as support services like transportation and childcare.

The goal of WIOA is to help individuals get the skills and training they need to obtain good-paying jobs in high-growth industries. By providing access to training and support services, WIOA helps to bridge the skills gap between unemployed workers and the jobs that are available in today’s economy.


If you’re a veteran or a spouse of a veteran, you may be able to get “priority of service” at your nearest American Job Center. Many American Job Centers receive funding from the Jobs for Veterans State Grants program to help veterans find jobs.

The WIOA program also gives priority to people who receive public assistance, low-income individuals, and those who need help with basic skills. The order of priority goes first to veterans and their spouses who are also part of other priority groups like low-income individuals. Then, priority goes to other low-income individuals and those with basic skills needs.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-Job Training (OJT) provides valuable job opportunities for New Jersey workers looking to increase their chances of obtaining employment. OJT is a subsidized program that offers eligible workers the chance to receive occupational training from private or public employers, providing them with essential knowledge and skills necessary to perform well in a particular position. During the training period, participants receive hands-on experience in the workplace, allowing them to develop and refine their skills in a real-world setting.

To be eligible for OJT, participants must meet certain criteria, including being unemployed or underemployed and actively seeking employment. They must also demonstrate that they lack the necessary skills and experience to obtain the desired position without additional training. Employers who participate in the OJT program must meet specific requirements and provide adequate training that meets the needs of the participant.

The benefits of OJT are significant for both job seekers and employers. For job seekers, OJT provides the opportunity to gain valuable experience and skills, which can lead to improved job prospects and higher wages. For employers, OJT offers an effective way to recruit and train new employees while minimizing the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.

If participants complete their OJT training and make satisfactory progress, they are typically hired as regular employees by the employer. This provides participants with job security and a pathway to a successful career, while also providing employers with a skilled and motivated workforce.

OJT is a valuable program that offers eligible New Jersey jobseekers the chance for occupational training that leads to employment. The program provides job seekers with the skills and experience necessary to succeed in their chosen field, while offering employers an effective way to recruit new employees.

Opportunity Partnership Program

The Opportunity Partnership training program in New Jersey helps participants secure industry-specific employment. The program offers practical job readiness training in occupational and credential areas, providing participants with an opportunity to learn new skills.

Upon selection into an industry-specific training program, you will have the opportunity to interview and make arrangements with employers during training, depending on the complexity of the skills that you are learning. The program is flexible, and the training period can vary based on your specific needs and the requirements of the job.

The Opportunity Partnership training program is an excellent resource for anyone looking to secure long-term success in a chosen industry.

Employer Partnership Program

The Employer Partnership Program in New Jersey is an on-the-job training (OJT) initiative that incentivizes employers to hire new workers by subsidizing the costs of training. Eligible participants receive a paid job and training, enabling them to learn new skills and advance their careers. Employers receive a reimbursement for a portion of the participant’s salary, making it easier and more cost-effective to train new employees.

The Employer Partnership Program offers a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee, helping to address the skills gap and reduce unemployment in New Jersey while providing valuable training opportunities for workers.

Those interested in participating in the OJT program in New Jersey must meet the requirements:

  • You must be a New Jersey resident who is currently unemployed or facing an imminent layoff from your current job.
  • The job you are training for must offer at least the state minimum wage.
  • The job opportunity provided through OJT must be full-time, requiring at least 32 hours of work per week for a long-term period.
  • To be eligible for the program, you must either be currently receiving unemployment benefits, have exhausted your benefits within the past 52 weeks, or meet the criteria to be regarded as a dislocated worker.

SkillUp NJ – Free Online Courses

All New Jersey workers, whether they’re employed or not, can take advantage of SkillUp New Jersey training program which offers more than 5,000 online Skillsoft courses for free.

These courses cover a wide range of high-demand industries such as:

  • Business analysis
  • Customer service
  • Digital literacy
  • Project management
  • Information technology

The courses cater to all levels, from basic work readiness skills for new workers to specialized training for high-level professionals and managers. Some of the courses offered include Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, customer service, data management and reporting, health and safety, and leadership skills. The platform offers training programs that lead to more than 100 industry certifications.

New Jersey Apprenticeship Network (NJAN)

Registered apprenticeship is a program that combines on-the-job learning with classroom instruction. It allows participants to learn valuable job skills while earning a salary. New Jersey employers may even pay for some or all of the education and training costs. Some apprenticeships can lead to a degree and a nationally recognized industry credential.

An apprenticeship is different from an unpaid internship because it offers full-time employment and pays participants. Apprenticeships provide alternate paths for job skills and allow participants to gain practical experience while learning. The starting salary for a Registered Apprenticeship graduate in New Jersey is between $50,000-$60,000, which is similar to a college graduate.

Apprenticeship programs are available for a variety of occupations, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Some programs cover training expenses or provide reimbursement for a portion of the cost.

  1. How do I find out about job training ?. I got laid off because cov_19.
    Need to contact someone about training. All the one stop places are closed. They usually help you with training.

  2. What a good number for out of state abt program it wont let me call them saying you must have a out of state area code

  3. My UI benefits ran out and and I just got approved for training program. I applied for ABT (Continuation of benefits) while in training program and was just denied because of reason “I voluntarily quit my job”. I resigned from my job after 3 months of not getting paid. I had sent emails asking when we would be paid and never got a response. I then sent resignation letter a week later. I also filed a wage claim with Trenton which was eventually closed and I was paid all money owed from this employer. I was approved for unemployment benefits because they said it was good cause. Now I’m being denied ABT because they are saying I quit. Would not paying your employee be considered a termination since they broke the payment agreement? How long could an employer not pay and employee before it’s considered a termination? I searched everywhere but could not find any laws on this.

    • Appeal, obviously. Forget about finding a law that’s applicable. Call your congressman if necessary. Keep fighting for what you deserve.

    • Patrick,

      In that case, you may want to consider filing an “Appeal” against the decision made by the state. Make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  4. I currently have a full time position in NJ. However im trying to obtain my passengers endorsement to go along with my Class A CDL. Will the state help with funding or provide training. My employer wont help financially so im at a stand still.

    • Greg,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out if you can claim UI benefits under these circumstances.

  5. I have filed an claim for unemployment benefits. How do I check the status. How do I get details of my job searching to an unemployment office.

    Warm Regards


  6. Where can I find the sheets that we are supposed to use to keep track of our job search history?

  7. Nobody in this state knows the answers. That is why the exodus from nj is ongoing. People are fed up with the mistreatment and govt. secrecy and corruption.

  8. will unemployment or the state assist me financially to get a CDL so i can get back to work asap? if so who do i call what is the number?

  9. I have worked my whole life and for the first time had to collect unemployment after being laid off after 12 years. I have been diligently looking and have gotten nothing more than a second interview. I applied and am going to school(online) for my masters degree in hopes of improving my chances of getting a job. Now I find out I’m just out of luck and now have no way of trying to support myself and my son? People were collecting for years, and now I only get 6 months with no more help, even though I put myself back in college? I have been paying taxes and for unemployment for over 20 years and now I am not entitled to any more help in return??

    • Omg I’m going through the exact same situation! I was laid off after 11 years, and not one company has contacted me yet, only scammers. I got laid off in June. I have the experience, and my resume is on every major career site online and still nothing. I have re-done my resume and cover letter 5x so i do not understand why no jobs are contacting me. My unemployment benefits just ended after 6 months also. I just received my last check. I do not want to go to school, because i have been to so many and I’m literally tired lol, but i was told that’s the only way to get them to extend unemployment. So i will do it. I don’t know how true it is though. I don’t wanna waste my time if they are not going to give me the extension. So what was the outcome for you? I see you posted your response in march.

      • Unemployment pays for what kind of school programs? Rutgers University has a data analytics certification that I would like to enroll. It’s tough getting in contact with anyone from NJ unemployment.

  10. I lie in Pennsylvania and am collecting UI from NJ. I am looking to get my CDL in PA. Will NJ Unemployment offer a grant for here in PA.?

    Thanks, Jeff

  11. I was surplussed in May of 2016 and my unemployment benefits ran out in November of 2016. I was informed that I am may not be eligible for the ABT program because it has been over one year since I last collected UI. Is this true? If so would I able to be appeal the decision or file a grievance? As far as I can tell I have no paperwork or verbal information stating that I had a limited window in which to apply. Any insight or information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.



  12. How does additional benefits (ABT) work if I’m currently in my initial 26 weeks of unemployment benefits and I take a 6 week training (approved by one stop, 20 hours / week) that starts and ends within the initial 26 weeks unemployment benefit period? Would this extend my benefits 6 weeks or would ABT not apply? Thank you.

    • Duke,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  13. My New Jersey unemployment has exhausted and I really need some help. I have been looking for work and I an older guy and its not easy to find something I do own a home and was hoping you might be able to give me some insight into some help with NJ property taxes? help with food and utility bills?? Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

  14. I will be applying for unemployment in two days. I would love to get some training in technology-related areas – using the web for social media, basic html, using mobile devices, etc. Basically everything. I am an older worker and feel I should be more conversant in this stuff than I am. Thanks so much.

    • Well, that is a great idea to enhance skills.

      You can take up a course in Digital Marketing and/or Social Media Management. Please call the Labor authorities in your state to check on availability of sponsored courses or you can also check with private institutes which offer the same.

  15. I’m currently attending school training (21hrs week and receiving abt benefits). I was out once for a week (14hrs that week) twice the following week (only 7hours the second week). My question is I did
    I’d not fulfill the 20+ hours a week needed to file for my benefits. Since I can’t file for benefits for the next two weeks, will they freeze my benefits because I haven’t filed for two weeks? If so what do I need to do if this occurs ? Or can I file my benefits and state somewhere I only completed 14hrs one week and 7hours the following week? I would really appreciate a response . Thanks

    • There can be consequences if you don’t file for a certain period and do not inform them.

      Please call the customer service of the labor dept immediately and let them know the reason for doing so.

  16. I filed a claim back in sept 2012 but did not receive my first check until jan 29th 2013. ive been on unemployment for 5 months and have only 1300 left. I have been looking for jobs constantly. will I automatically get an extension

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