Congressman suggests NJ pay back-to-work bonuses with federal help
FAIR LAWN – U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer has said New Jersey should use a portion of its federal COVID recovery funds to pay back-to-work bonuses of $ 500 for unemployed residents.
Gottheimer, a Bergen County Democrat representing the 5th District, offered the one-time incentive at an event at the Empress Diner at Fair Lawn that has gone from 20 employees to 12 since last year and reduced it at 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 24 hours a day.
“As we move from pandemic to normal life, like so many businesses, they are not yet able to find the people they need to be fully operational,” said Gottheimer. “They will someday soon. Hope is on the horizon. But for now, that’s another story.
The state received more than $ 6.2 billion in funds as part of the US bailout package promulgated in March. A plan for spending the money over the next few years has yet to be developed and is among the topics being negotiated as part of the state budget process.
Gottheimer said the bonus should be available for workers who are currently unemployed but who start a job before August 1 and keep it until at least September 1. He said states like Connecticut and Colorado are currently implementing similar incentive programs.
“There are financial and logistical challenges arising from the pandemic. It’s a transition. From child care issues to transportation, obviously to ongoing health issues and school and caring for family members who are sick, right? he said. “I think we’re all trying to figure it all out. This thing rocked faster than expected, which is good news. But I think we need some time to make the transition, and I think this $ 500 back-to-work bonus will help with that transition. “
Gottheimer also sent a letter State Commissioner for Labor and Workforce Development Robert Asaro-Angelo calling for the state to start enforcing the requirement that workers receiving unemployment benefits actively seek work. This was suspended in March 2020, when the pandemic began.
Michael Symons is the State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at [email protected].
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