New Jersey has launched a one-stop jobs portal to match job-seekers with immediate openings at businesses serving on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies across New Jersey are hiring for thousands of positions. The state is advising job-seekers to check the site frequently because it is adding information and features daily.
“This is a great opportunity for workers who have been laid off or seen their hours reduced to get back to work quickly, while serving their state by working in an industry with critical needs during this pandemic,” said N.J. Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “We all have a role to play in making sure workers keep income coming in and businesses have the staffs they need to move us through this public health emergency.”
Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy signed bills last week that provide a lifeline to small businesses struggling with cash-flow during the pandemic and offer job protections for employees who are directed by a medical professional to stay home from work because they either have or are likely to have COVID-19, and may spread the virus in their workplace.
Bill A3845 provides grants to small businesses through the Economic Development Authority (EDA). These grants, which will be available for the duration of the current public health emergency, will provide working capital and help businesses meet payroll. The grants are designed to help struggling businesses handle the income disruption and uncertainty due to COVID-19. For additional information, visit the EDA’s website.
Bill A3848 provides job protection to employees who miss work because they have or are likely to have COVID-19, and have been directed to stay home by their doctor. This vital worker protection bill gives employees the peace of mind they need to stay home if they are sick. This action, coupled with New Jersey’s generous Earned Sick Leave, Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance laws, will help stem this pandemic by allowing workers to remain at home without fear of losing their job, or not being reinstated.
Suspected sick leave violations should be reported to the N.J. Labor Department.
The federal government has also put in place new protections for employers and employees.
Businesses in all 21 counties are approved for federal disaster assistance in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). These loans are for small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, and most private, nonprofits of all sizes meet their regular financial obligations that cannot be otherwise met because of the pandemic.
For more information on disaster loan assistance, visit the Small Business Administration.
Furthermore, federal legislation becomes effective April 2 that will provide 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to employees of employers with fewer than 500 employees – beyond the maximum of 40 hours of paid leave to which all New Jersey employees are entitle under the state’s earned sick leave law – to employees who are stricken with COVID-19, those who have been exposed to the virus and workers whose child’s school has been closed or who cannot access child care due to COVID-19.
Parents whose child’s school has been closed, or who cannot access child care due to COVID-19, will also be eligible starting April 2 for leave under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The first 10 days of the expanded FMLA is unpaid. The remaining 10 weeks must be paid by the employer.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also includes extended unemployment benefits; however, New Jersey has not qualified for these benefits at this time. If New Jersey does qualify for the extended benefits, applicants may not need to do anything new. Information will be posted on the N.J. Department of Labor website as it becomes available.