COVID-19 Employment and Business Matters
Business owners throughout New Jersey and employees alike have been seriously impacted by COVID-19. Below, we have tried to highlight the topics that we are asked about frequently. If you do not see the topic that you are looking for, please visit our state's COVID-19 website.
Resources for those who are unemployed due to COVID-19
Over 1.2 million New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. Many have been helped but there are many who are experiencing problems and significant delays with their unemployment claims and must speak with a representative from the unemployment office before they can go any further. This is proving very challenging, because so many are finding it impossible to get through on the phone line and there is no on-site assistance available at this time. The Department of Labor (DOL) is well-aware of the situation and advises that it can take 4 weeks or longer to receive the personal attention that your claim may require to be moved from a "pending" status to a "filed" status".
- In an effort to address some common road blocks, system changes are being made that could update your status and make it possible for the claim to be processed. This status change could occur without your involvement. Check your email regularly to see if your claim status has been updated.
- You can also check the status of your claim here to see if it has been updated.
- Even though it is difficult to get through on the DOL call line, thousands of people a week are doing so. Don't give up hope.
Here are the four most frequently asked questions:
- "What does it mean if my claim is pending, or not payable at this time?" Answer
- "What if I see a message to contact the call center or speak to an agent?" Answer
- "Why does my claim show $0 in the WBR amount?" Answer
- "How can I reset my PIN or password?" Answer
Here are some further answers to even more frequently asked questions.
Are you having trouble when certifying for weekly benefits? Here's how to answer those questions during the pandemic so that things will go smoothly. It is well worth your time to review this document, as wrong answers will likely stop your weekly certification process thereby delaying your unemployment benefit payment.
Employees who are out of work are encouraged to visit the NJ Department of Labor website to access information about benefits and to file claims. Read through the worker stories to determine which benefits program best fits your situation.
For self-employed NJ workers there is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This is a new program authorized by Congress to provide unemployment benefits to workers not eligible for regular unemployment. In addition to people who are self-employed or independent contractors, this includes those who do not have enough recent earnings to receive regular unemployment benefits.
Workers in this group, who have applied for regular unemployment and been denied, do not have to do anything further. Payments will be sent starting in the end of April. Those who have not yet applied are encouraged to review the guides offered here and begin the process of applying for PUA.
If you have questions about filing for unemployment, please visit this site. Filing online is the fastest way to receive benefits. The NJ Department of Labor offers specific tips on filing because of a coronavirus work situation. If you are unable to file online, you may follow these steps to file over the phone.
If you are missing wages from your employer, or not being given your New Jersey earned sick leave, please file a claim.
If you are looking for a job, please visit this jobs portal. Many positions are available.
You may find additional resources and answers to frequently asked questions at the state's COVID-19 website.
News and Resources for NJ Business Owners
Grant and Loan Availability from State - Applications for the NJEDA Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant are now being accepted. This grant is for business owners and non-profits with ten or less employees. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and awards will be announced as early as April 6. No applications will be accepted after April 10 at 9:00 am. Learn more
A copy of the application for the NJEDA Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan will be open on April 6, 2020. Applications will be open for submission on April 13, 2020 at 9:00 am. This $10 million program will make direct low-cost financing available to allow New Jersey small businesses and non-profits to cover operating expenses and ensure continuity of operations during the outbreak. Learn more
Find out which program is best for you by using the NJ COVID-19 Business Support Eligibility Wizard.
Help for Small Business Owners - To ease your financial burden, the NJ Department of Labor wants all business owners, particularly small business owners, to know that financial relief will be available in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bipartisan federal legislation is expected that will provide small and mid-sized businesses with 100 percent compensation for providing two weeks of sick leave to employees, along with tax credits for providing up to three months of Paid Family Leave. New Jersey lawmakers are also working on providing robust relief to our valued business community. Learn more
New Jersey Business Action Center - If you have business-related Coronavirus-19 questions, you are welcome to call the New Jersey Business Action Center (8 am–9 pm) at 1-800-JERSEY-7 or to talk with the office personnel using a live online chat feature on their site.
Earned Sick Leave and Family Care
New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law covers public health emergencies – employees can use Earned Sick Leave if their workplace or child’s school or daycare is closed due to an epidemic, or if a public health authority determines the need for a quarantine.
Earned Sick Leave can be used for self-care, or for a person to care for a family member, which includes a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, parent or grandparent, domestic or civil union partner, anyone related by blood to the employee, or anyone whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family. Details on this and more can be found at the NJ Department of Labor website.