With the FY22 budget season wrapping up and the Legislature’s summer recess rapidly approaching, NJBIA is requesting senators to advance four critical bills to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk next week.
“These are bills we have championed where timing really is of the essence,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. “The sooner they’re signed into law, the better.”
Here are NJBIA’s priority bills for the week:
A-5898/S-3963 – Temporarily expands summer working hours
The bill, which passed the General Assembly on Monday, would permit minors between 16 and 18 years of age to work up to 50 hours in a week during the summer, beginning on the last day of the minor’s school year and ending on Labor Day of 2021.
The teen is required to provide the employer written permission from a parent or legal guardian. Currently, work hours for New Jersey teens age 16-18 are capped at 40 hours per week.
NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz said it was crucial that this bill be signed into law soon, so it can have a full impact this summer. In interviews, Gov. Phil Murphy has indicated a liking for the bill.
“This bill will give employers more flexibility to hire and fill the gaps left by non-returning workers as businesses continue to struggle to fill jobs, particularly in the seasonal and tourism industry,” Emigholz said. “At the same time, it will also create greater opportunities for youth workers to earn more money between school years.”
The bill awaits Senate action next week.
A-5691/S-3714: Protects nonprofits from surprise UI bills from pandemic-related layoffs
In January, Gov. Murphy signed a law reducing the increase of an employer’s unemployment taxes through 2023 to soften a $1 billion UI tax increase and to protect nonprofits that have opted to pay reimbursements for UI, instead of through the payroll tax.
However, the new law is being interpreted differently from what was intended. In fact, several nonprofits have received UI bills from the state totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars after they have been closed or restricted for more than a year.
This bill was approved unanimously by both houses, but it needs senate concurrence with an Assembly amendment before it gets to Gov. Murphy’s desk.
“The faster this bill passes the Senate and gets signed, the sooner our much-valued nonprofits will be protected from UI liabilities that are extremely burdensome,” Buteas said.
A-3027/S-793: Commits $3 million to NJBIA Basic Skills Training Program
The good news on the Basic Skills training front is the FY22 budget presented to Gov. Murphy includes $3 million from the Supplemental Workforce Fund for the NJBIA Basic Skills Training Program.
This legislation, however, would put the budget language into permanent statute – rather than just this year.
The NJBIA Basic Skills Training Program has trained more than 185,000 workers from over 11,000 businesses since 2007.
“Basic skills training is a permanent need for both employers and employees,” Emigholz said. “The success and reputation of the program speaks for itself. We just need the funding to continue.”
The bill passed the Assembly unanimously this week and needs Senate passage next week.
A-5939/S-3993: Revises some provisions of the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020
The Senate postponed a vote this week on a 213-page bill that would change parts of the $14.5 billion economic incentive program announced earlier this year.
“Essentially, this is a tax incentive program cleanup bill that we’re supporting,” Emigholz said. “Overall, we were pleased with the incentive program that was signed into last this year. But for example, this bill would address the new post-pandemic remote workforce realities, make the tax incentive law a little more friendly to small business and add to the law’s innovation offerings.”
The bill did sail, 65-9, through the General Assembly. A Senate vote is anticipated this week.