New Jersey’s unemployment rate is 7.2%, up from 7.8% at the start of the year.
Around 249,000 people still receive benefits in the state, while businesses large and small continue to say they are struggling to find employees.
Some attribute the labor shortage to extended unemployment benefits, which ended earlier this month. But many workers say they have other reasons for staying home, including childcare issues, health issues and not wanting to return to low-paying jobs.
Governor Murphy on Monday announced a new program it’s supposed to entice both workers and small businesses and help alleviate the hiring dilemma.
Some details of the plan, dubbed âCome Back and Gain,â have yet to be released, and the Labor Department said more information would be available soon.
Here’s what we know so far.
What bonus can workers get?
If you start employment with an employer that has fewer than 100 employees, pays at least $ 15 an hour, and is accepted into the program, you could get a one-time bonus of $ 500.
How can I get the bonus?
Details are still being worked out by the Ministry of Labor, which will implement the program and work with employers. Start by finding out if your potential employer has applied and if your position will be eligible.
Should I live in New Jersey?
Yes. You are not eligible if you live out of state, even if the employer is in New Jersey.
I have already returned to work. Am I eligible?
No. The program will only cover new hires.
I am a concert worker. Am I eligible?
No. Seasonal, commission and 1099 positions are not eligible, the Labor Department said.
I only want to work part time. Am I eligible?
No. You must be a full-time employee working at least 32 hours per week to be eligible.
How am I going to get the money?
The $ 500 will go to the employer, who will then pay the employee, the labor ministry said.
When will I receive the money?
It will take several weeks, the labor ministry said.
“The process requires the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to first form a contract with the Garden State employer, and we expect the first employees to benefit from the Return and Earn program will receive their incentive in a few weeks, “spokesman Tom Wright said in an email.
I am a small business. Am I eligible?
Your business should have 100 or fewer employees and pay at least $ 15 an hour for the jobs you want to fill.
I am a non-profit. Can my business be eligible?
Yes. Private and non-profit employers with up to 100 full-time employees can apply.
I am a small business. When will the program start?
It’s already started, in a way. The Ministry of Labor is working on the details of the request.
“Employers can visit NJ.gov/labor/returnandearn to express interest in this program and to receive information about applications as they become available, âthe agency’s website said.
How will it work?
Many details are still being worked out, but the Labor Ministry said hundreds of employers have already expressed interest.
The Ministry of Labor website said it was “currently working on delivering this program, including developing a streamlined online application process.”
âOnce we have connected with an employer, our business support unit will review eligibility, training criteria, etc. and then contract with them,â Wright said.
Companies can register here.
Which employees will be eligible?
The Labor Department said it would work with employers to identify potential candidates for available positions.
I am an employer. What can I use the money for?
The program will provide up to $ 10,000 in grants that companies can use for each employee, with a cap of $ 40,000 in benefits per employer.
Eligible employers will be reimbursed 50% of the salary paid for the regular hours worked during the training period offered by the employer. Employers can receive the wage subsidy for up to 6 months, the state said.
What type of training should it be?
The Labor Department said it would depend on the circumstances of the position, but would work with employers to make sure he qualifies for the program.
Can I use virtual training due to the pandemic?
Yes. In-person and virtual training will be permitted.
How does New Jersey pay for all of this?
Funding for the program comes from the US bailout’s federal coronavirus assistance program, Murphy said.
How long will the program last?
It’s not clear.
The state caps the program at $ 10 million, Murphy said, but if there is a strong demand, he said he would consider adding more funds.
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Karin Price Mueller can be contacted at [email protected].