Lawmakers on Thursday advanced NJBIA-backed legislation that provides greater flexibility regarding the number of employees that must be working in-person at a given business location so that employers do not lose their state economic development incentive grants.

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz said the legislation, S-3379/A-4929, recognizes the realities of the hybrid work environment that was ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic and provides businesses with flexibility needed for programs that count the number of full-time employees on site.

“Businesses still have to create the jobs that they promised to create,” Emigholz said. “The legislation is meant to prevent companies from losing their tax credits if they allow a portion of their workforce to work from home. These are still jobs that are creating tax revenue for New Jersey.”

The legislation would offer greater flexibility regarding on-site employee requirements for businesses participating in the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP), the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program (BRAG), the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (GROW), and the Urban Transit Hub Program (HUB).

Bill S-3379, sponsored by Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29),was released by the Senate Energy Environment Committee Thursday morning (due to the cancellation of the Senate Commerce  Committee) and is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate on Monday. An identical Assembly bill, A-4929, sponsored by Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29), was approved by 75-3 vote by the full General Assembly on Thursday afternoon.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) implemented certain accommodations for businesses previously approved for awards under these four programs. NJEDA waived the requirement that a full-time employee employed by a business spend at least 80% percent of the time working at their company’s qualified business facility in order to be counted as a full-time employee. The New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 lowered the in-person requirement to 60%.

This bill provides an additional waiver to eligible businesses for the period of July 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2023.  Specifically, the bill allows businesses to waive the 60% on-site requirement if:

  • Full-time workers employed by the business spend at least 10% of their work hours at the qualified business facility through the 2023 tax period;
  • The business pays NJEDA 5% of the amount of the tax credit the business receives for the 2022 tax period, which would be used to support small business and downtown activation activities.