A bill that would allow state and local governments to save hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring public workers to have their hours reduced through furloughs as part of the COVID-19 response was supported by NJBIA today.
Bill A-4132 (Taliaferro, D-3) will allow many workers to collect payments exceeding their normal wages because of the recent expansion of unemployment benefits.
It was voted out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee unanimously today.
The Senate counterpart bill, also known as the Employee Job-Sharing Furlough Protection Act, was unanimously approved by the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee on Thursday.
“This legislation represents an important step in trying to find state budget savings at a time when it’s really needed,” said NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz.
NJBIA had previously opposed provisions in the legislation that removed small business family leave protections for employers with fewer than 30 employees. However, both the Senate and Assembly versions of the bill were amended to remove that provision.
Emigholz also requested the committee amend the legislation’s provisions regarding unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to clarify the changes apply only during the COVID-19 crisis, so that New Jersey’s unemployment insurance fund can recover more quickly. That amendment was also made.
“We thank the sponsors for working with the business community and avoiding private sector labor mandates that would hurt small businesses that are definitely struggling right now,” Emigholz said. “Ultimately, this legislation marks an important step in trying to find state budget savings.”