NJDOL and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Employers & Businesses Should Know

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The COVID-19 virus is impacting all of our daily routines, with many employers feeling especially vulnerable.

To ease your financial burden, we want you – particularly our small business owners – to know that financial relief will be available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bipartisan federal legislation expected to be signed this week will provide small and mid-sized businesses with 100 percent compensation for providing two weeks of sick leave to employees, along with tax credits for providing up to three months of Paid Family Leave. New Jersey lawmakers are also working on providing robust relief to our valued business community.

We urge you to continue to pay your workers whether or not they are able to work. All but the largest employers will be fully reimbursed under the legislation, and employees who are not well or are caring for someone who is ill will have the peace of mind and financial security to stay home. Employees who continue to be paid are not eligible for Unemployment Insurance or other benefits.

The information below will be updated as our response to COVID-19 evolves, so please check back often.

·        Guidance for employers

·        Economic assistance for businesses

·        Guidance for retailers

How should employers prepare for the potential of COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus in their business community?

We suggest carefully reviewing CDC interim guidance for businesses which may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

Can employees that are scheduled to travel abroad still go?

Any person or group planning a trip abroad should consult the CDC website for current travel advisories regarding any travel restrictions. The situation is evolving, so travelers should stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak. These notices will be updated as more information becomes available.

If an employee has recently traveled abroad, should they be excluded from work?

CDC has issued travel advisories for several countries. Please refer to the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel for the latest travel advisories.

Travelers returning from the countries known to be affect should follow recommendations provided by the CDC for Travelers Returning from High Risk Countries.

What should I do if an employee becomes sick while at work?

Per the CDC, employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available). This is the recommendation whether the employee might have COVID-19 or any of the much more common respiratory viruses.

Should employees who may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus wear a surgical mask?

There is little need for the general public to wear face masks in the U.S. currently as the threat level is low. But for people who are in close contact with an infected person, a mask may be helpful if used properly. They are not 100% effective as the virus can enter through the sides of the mask or enter the body through the eyes. The CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States. Surgical masks can help prevent the spread of disease when worn by a sick person.

Are there special recommendations for cleaning?

The CDC advises that:

·        Special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning is not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness.

·        Businesses should follow standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting with an EPA registered product. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are frequently touched.

·        Disposable wipes should be provided so that commonly used surfaces, e.g., doorknobs, keyboards, desks, etc., can be wiped down by employees before each use.

The CDC has also provided interim recommendations for the cleaning and disinfection of community facilities (schools, daycares centers, businesses) with suspected/confirmed cases of COVID-19.

If my business is financially or operationally impacted by the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus outbreak, who at the State should I reach out to?

Before reaching out directly to the State, we recommend that you review the answers on this site. Reading this information is likely to be the most efficient way for you to get answers and support.

If you have additional business-related coronavirus questions, you are welcome to call the New Jersey Business Action Center (8am–5pm ET) at 1-800-JERSEY-7 or visit business.nj.gov.

If you have a non-business coronavirus inquiry, please call the NJ Coronavirus & Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit nj.gov/health.

What existing State programs can my small or medium-sized business utilize?

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has a portfolio of loan, financing, and technical assistance programs available to support small and medium-sized businesses. More information on existing products and programs can be found on the NJEDA website for small and midsize business and the services for those businesses.

Speaking with an NJEDA team member may be helpful in understanding what resources may be available to address your business needs. To reach an NJEDA team member, please call 609-858-6767 or share information about your business at contactus.njeda.com and a representative will contact you promptly.

What programs are being developed by the State to support businesses that are financially or operationally impacted by the outbreak?

The State recognizes that the coronavirus outbreak is causing difficulty for many members of our business community. Several State agencies are currently engaging with local business leaders, local financial institutions, and business advocacy groups to better understand what supports would be most impactful to ensure business and employment continuity.

Please check this site regularly, as we anticipate an update in the near future.

If I have a loan, grant, or tax credit agreement with NJEDA, and I am concerned about not being able to meet my commitments, is relief available?

The NJEDA understands that the coronavirus outbreak is causing disruptions for some businesses that have been approved for State economic development support, including loans, grants, and tax credits.  Businesses are encouraged to appropriately respond to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers.

In light of the declared New Jersey state of emergency, NJEDA is currently reviewing procedures and policies related to all NJEDA support programs.

As a first step, the NJEDA is waiving certain specific requirements related to employee presence in the office for the recipients of awards under the following employment-based incentive programs:

·        Grow New Jersey Program (“Grow NJ”)

·        Urban Transit Hub Program (“HUB”)

·        Business Employment Incentive Program (“BEIP”)

·        Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program (“BRRAG”)

For more information about this program waiver, read the press release.

Please continue to check this website in the coming days for additional program specific guidance.

In addition, if you would like to speak with a representative about your specific situation, please call your assigned Incentives Officer or 609-858-6767; or provide your information at contactus.njeda.com and a member of the NJEDA will contact you promptly.

What federal programs are available for businesses financially or operationally impacted by the outbreak?

The federal government’s $8.3 billion Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, is predominantly focused on direct support for outbreak response (i.e., funding for hospitals, testing, vaccines, etc.), but did include provisions that allows the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to administer disaster-related loans.

Per his address on March 11, 2020, President Trump has authorized the SBA to offer an additional $50 billion in SBA loans at low-interest rates to help small businesses overcome temporary economic setbacks caused by the spread of the Coronavirus. The Small Business Administration's coronavirus website has the most up to date information available on current loan packages and program information.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority and other State Officials will be in contact with our Federal partners and will update this site with additional information as it is received.

What does New Jersey’s price gouging law prohibit?

Governor Phil Murphy declared that New Jersey has entered a state of emergency, effective March 9, 2020. Executive Order No. 103 declares a state of emergency across all 21 counties in the State. New Jersey’s law against price gouging is now in effect. This law prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency, or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency.

Excessive price increases are defined as price increases that are more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency. See New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act for more information.

The Division of Consumer Affairs has set up a hotline for price gouging complaints related to coronavirus. Please call 973-504-6240 to report any price gouging concerns.

Printable guides outlining COVID-19–related benefits for NJ employees. 

Information in English: DOWNLOAD NOW >DOWNLOAD NOW >



Additional information and resources:

·        Paid leave and job protections for employees

·        COVID-19 FAQ from the NJ Department of Health

·        COVID-19 guidance from the CDC

·        NJ Business Action Center

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