As a step to boost the state economy, Gov. Phil Murphy announced New Jersey will offer $500 return-to-work bonuses for unemployed residents in their first paycheck after hiring and employers will be eligible for up to $10,000 in wage subsidies to hire and train new workers.
Murphy announced last week that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) will begin implementation of the Return and Earn program. This new initiative will provide a $500 incentive for unemployed workers reentering the workforce and receiving job training from businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
“Our Administration is committed to assist businesses in hiring workers, while providing benefits to those entering and re-entering the workforce that will set them up for success in their new jobs and their future careers. This program will help both businesses and their workers, and is yet another step that we have taken to boost our economy,” stated the Governor.
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According to nj.com, Return & Earn will reimburse employers for half of the wages paid for regular hours worked. The total reimbursement will be capped at $10,000 per new employee, and at $40,000 per employer. The reimbursement will be valid whether the training occurs in-person at the job site or virtually.
NJDOL is currently working on the execution of this program, including developing a streamlined online application process. As published by the Governor official website, the general process and eligibility criteria are as follows:
- NJDOL will work with employers to identify prospective candidates for available positions.
- The employer will provide substantive on-the-job training at their location or, depending on circumstances, utilize approved virtual training that result in skill badges or industry-recognized credentials.
- Eligible applicants are private and not-for-profit employers with up to 100 full-time employees.
- Candidates must be New Jersey residents working full-time (minimum 32 hours per week).
- Seasonal, part-time, commission-based, or 1099 positions are not eligible.
Additionally, many workers will be eligible for supportive services like childcare and transportation reimbursement, which have been barriers for many re-entering the workforce.
The Return and Earn program is being executed in collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Office of Innovation, and is part of the Murphy Administration’s whole-of-government approach to support to the business community and its workers.
To remove a burden
Senator Cruz-Perez, Chair of the Senator Economic Growth Committee said the initiative will support New Jersey´s economic development. “This new program will benefit both small businesses in need of new employees and workers looking to return to the workforce in a higher-skill position. Providing wage replacements will remove the burden of training new employees while also developing our state’s talent pool at a time we need it most.”
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This $500 Return and Earn incentive and On-the-Job Training subsidy will be funded by $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Additional related supportive services will be funded by Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds.
New Jersey job seekers can visit CareerServices.nj.gov for help finding gainful employment opportunities. These services are available telephonically, online, and via smartphone.