On behalf of our member companies all throughout our state that make NJBIA the largest statewide business association in the nation, thank you Assemblyman Freiman and Senator Gopal for sponsoring these bills and thank you Chairman Sarlo for posting them and allowing us the opportunity to express our very strong support for A-4222 and S-2796.
NJBIA strongly supports this legislation because it is one of the most impactful initiatives you can pursue to address the current workforce crisis, especially for our hospitality and retail businesses that get busier in the summer. The business community thanks you for the successful temporary law change last summer, and this bill builds off that making it easier to hire and manage teen workers for longer hours every summer. Additionally, this year’s bill also includes reform of the overly cumbersome and antiquated working paper process. It is a win-win because it helps:
- employers get more worker hours and build capacity to get through this workforce force crisis and beyond,
- teens more easily get jobs and valuable work experience with more hours and pay, and
- all people throughout New Jersey avoid longer lines and waits throughout their summer.
As we all see in windows and lit-up displays as we drive down any business district, as we have all heard on the nightly news, as you hear from the businesses in your legislative districts, as we hear from our NJBIA members and as the data purports, we are in the middle of a workforce crisis. Confounding that crisis for many seasonal businesses is the fact that they are not seeing the federal visa program hires they used to, and that is on top of trying to stay on top of inflation and make up for lost income due to COVID-19 losses. And long-term, this bill and its extended teen hours will also develop our future workforce by giving teens more work experience at earlier ages – hopefully building work ethic and career awareness.
Importance of Legislation’s Reforms
A-4222 reforms our antiquated teen worker rules in a variety of ways that are beneficial to the teens themselves and employers by:
- permanently expanding the work week for 16- and 17-year-olds from 40 to 50 hours
- We thank you for last summer’s temporary expansion and building off that law’s success that we heard about from many businesses, this permanent expansion will provide many employers the ability to improve service to their customers.
- allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work up to 10 hours per day in the summer instead of up to 8 hours per day
- making the break requirements for minors more flexible
- This is important, because the current law took away flexibility from both employers and teen workers, so increasing the number of hours that can be worked without a break will allow employers to stagger breaks more efficiently and give teen workers the opportunity to take a break at a more convenient time for themselves.
- allows a one-time parent opt-out from working late summer hours
- changes the antiquated working paper process.
- replaces cumbersome working paper process per job with a one-time online authorization system that is easier for minors and employers to navigate
- removes school and doctor permission requirements – New Jersey was only state that required both
- creates an advisory council with parents and employers to oversee the new process
- make the 50 hour per week, 10 hour per day and 6-hour break requirement take effect immediately, with the more complicated working paper reforms to take effect later this year
- This is important to immediately address the workforce crisis for seasonal businesses this summer.
NJBIA thanks you all for the consideration of our perspective and urges this committee to vote “yes” on this critically important win-win workforce bill that helps teen workers, employers and all New Jerseyans who will spend less time waiting in lines over the summer. Please let me know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.