Incentives for New Jersey Employers and Workers – Fingers Crossed
In September, New Jersey announced a new program called the Return and Earn Incentive Program that is targeted to New Jersey Employers who hire the unemployed and train them to acquire new skills. For the employer, that could mean a wage subsidy of up to $40,000. For the worker returning to the workplace, there would be a $500 incentive to acquire these new skills. If you think you might be eligible, here is a summary of what has been published about this opportunity.
Return and Earn is an adaptation of the existing OJT (On the Job Training) Program administered by the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL). DOL must approve the job, the company, and the employee before participation in the program. Funds for the program were allocated by Congress in the American Rescue Plan Act as a response to COVID-19.
Who can qualify as an employee? The employee must be a New Jersey resident who cannot be a current or previous employee of the company. The employee must work full time for the complete pay cycle to be eligible. The company pays the $500 employee incentive bonus in the first paycheck and is later reimbursed for that payment without regard to any other payments that will be received for participation in the program. Hiring a family member is not allowed
To be eligible for consideration in the program a company must have no more than 100 employees, the job must pay more than $15/hour, and the employee must be paid for at least 32 hours per week. The position cannot be seasonal and the employee must receive a W-2. Candidates can be identified by the company or the DOL but must be approved by DOL to qualify. The goal is to determine whether this job will result in new, marketable skills for the returning worker.
What’s in it for the employer? The employer enters into a contract with the DOL with five training benchmarks for the employee and a timeframe for those benchmarks to be achieved. Employers are reimbursed for 50% of the wages paid to eligible employees for regular hours worked for up to six months in the program, capped at $10,000 per employee, $40,000 per company if there is more than one contract. DOL is careful to note, however, that these are the maximum subsidies allowed, but there is no guarantee that each contract will result in the maximum subsidy.
How can you apply? On the DOL website there is a form that can be filled out to express an interest in learning more about the program as information becomes available (below), but a very good source for information right now is the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce.Return and Earn Form
Article Submitted by – Lois S. Fried, CPA