CYNTHIA M. BLAKE, Appellant,
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, and LAUREL HEALTHCARE, LLC, Respondents.
Submitted June 6, 2017
appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket
No. 068, 871.
Jersey Legal Services, Inc., attorneys for appellant (Alan W.
Lesso, on the briefs) .
Christopher S. Porrino, Attorney General, attorney for
respondent Board of Review, Department of Labor (Melissa
Dutton Schaffer, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel;
Lauren J. Zarrillo, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).
Respondent Laurel Healthcare, LLC has not filed a brief.
Judges Messano, Suter and Grail.
six decades ago, the Legislature amended New Jersey's
Unemployment Compensation Law (the UCL), N.J.S.A. 43:21-1 to
-56, disqualifying applicants from receiving unemployment
benefits if they "left work voluntarily without good
cause attributable to such work." Yardville Supply
Co. v. Bd. of Review, 114 N.J. 371, 374 (1989) (quoting
N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a)). "Accordingly, benefits are
available to a worker who voluntarily leaves his job only if
it [was] for 'good cause attributable to [the]
work.'" Utley v. Bd. of Review, 194 N.J.
534, 544 (2008) (quoting N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a)). A worker who
leaves "for personal reasons, however compelling, ... is
disqualified under the statute." Ibid.; see
also Ardan v. Bd. of Review, 444 N.J.Super. 576, 585
(App. Div. 2016) ("An employee who leaves work for good,
but personal, reasons is not deemed to have left work
voluntarily with good cause."), certif.
granted, 229 N.J. 135 (2017).
disqualification extends from the week the employee leaves
work, "and for each week thereafter until [she] becomes
reemployed . . . works eight weeks . . . and has earned ...
at least ten times [her] weekly benefit rate." N.J.S.A.
43:21-5(a). The current disqualification period represents an
extension, from four to eight weeks and from six to ten times
the benefit rate, which enactment coincided with changes to
other provisions of the UCL intended to "reduce
unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates" imposed on
employers. L. 2010, c. 37, § 2; Senate Labor Comm.,
Statement to S. 1813 (May 10, 2010).
appeal requires us to construe the following language added
to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a) in 2015, which provides the
shall not apply to an individual who voluntarily leaves
work with one employer to accept from another employer
employment which commences not more than seven days after the
individual leaves employment with the first employer, if
the employment with the second employer has weekly hours or
pay not less than the hours or pay of the employment of the
first employer, except that if the individual gives
notice to the first employer that the individual will leave
employment on a specified date and the first employer
terminates the individual before that date, the seven-day
period will commence from the specified date.
[N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), as amended by L. 2015, c. 41
§ 1 (emphasis added).]
case, Cynthia M. Blake provided her employer, Laurel
Healthcare LLC (Laurel), with two weeks' notice that she
was leaving her position to begin working for Alaris
Healthcare (Alaris) at an increased hourly wage. Two days
before she was to start, Alaris told Blake the position was
no longer available. When Blake tried to rescind her
resignation, Laurel informed her it no longer required her in
a full-time capacity. The Deputy denied Blake's
application for unemployment benefits because she left work
voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work.
Tribunal affirmed the Deputy's decision, reasoning the
Amendment's exception applied only if Blake actually
commenced her employment with Alaris. In its final decision,
the Board of Review (the Board) agreed with the