Coronavirus Emergency Relief Assistance in NJ

March 18, 2020

Package of Bills Moves through the State Legislature

Updated:  5/6/2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NJ State Legislature  took swift and meaningful action to reduce the burden felt statewide. The Legislature introduced the following package of bills to provide emergency relief assistance on a few fronts.  

As of  Wednesday, May 5, the Governor signed three of the six bills and vetoed the others.  See details below. 

 Signed into law:

  • A3840 (Lampitt/Dunn) – Requires school districts to provide school meals or meal vouchers to students eligible for free and reduced priced school meals during school closures due to COVID-19 epidemic 
    • This bill provides direction to school districts for the provision of school meals to students if the districts are directed by either the New Jersey Department of Health or the health officer of the jurisdiction to institute a public health-related closure due to the COVID-19 epidemic.   
  • A3848 (Lopez / Munoz / Downey) – Concerns time off from work in connection with infectious disease. 
    • This bill prohibits an employer, during state of emergency based on a public health emergency involving COVID-19, from terminating or refusing to reinstate an employee if the employee requests or takes time off from work based on a written recommendation from a medical professional licensed in New Jersey that the employee take time off work for a specified period of time because the employee has, or is likely to have, an infection of COVID-19 which may infect others at the employee’s workplace.
  • S2304 (Sweeney / Scutari / Sumter / Chapparo / Quijano) – Concerns family leave and disability benefits during epidemic-related emergencies
    • This bill expands the law’s definition of a “serious health condition” to allow individuals access to Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Family Leave Insurance (FLI) benefits during a public health emergency if they must take time off of work because they are diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease or to take care of a family member diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease. The bill also expands New Jersey’s earned sick leave law to permit the use of earned sick time for isolation or quarantine recommended or ordered by a provider or public health official as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or to care for a family member under recommended or ordered isolation or quarantine.

Vetoed by the Governor: 

  • A3846 (Sumter) – Creates “Epidemic and Emergency Relief Fund”; provides for lost income of workers affected by epidemics. 
    • This bill would have created a program fund to allow individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to recoup actual lost wages due to absence from work under certain circumstances

      • The Department of Labor and Workforce Development would have used the fund to pay the lost wages of individuals due to:
      1. the individual’s absence from work due to the need to care for a family member;
      2. the individual’s absence from work due to the illness of the individual;
      3. the individual’s absence from work due to school or childcare facility being closed; and
      4. or such other purposes as determined by the commissioner. 
  • A3856 (Downey) – Makes FY 2020 supplemental appropriation of $10 million for residential facility sanitation due to coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. 
    • This $10 million appropriation would have been used to provide financial assistance to certain health care and residential facilities in meeting the sanitation demands imposed by the coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, outbreak. 
  • A3858 (Mukherji) – Requires Commissioner of Human Services to issue supplemental cash assistance payments to recipients of certain public assistance programs under certain circumstances. 
    • This bill would have required the Commissioner of Human Services to issue supplemental cash assistance payments to recipients of the following public assistance programs under certain circumstance:  
      • Work First New Jersey program  
      • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
      • Special supplemental food program for women, infants and children (WIC)  

Federal Stimulus CARES Act: 

On Friday, March 27, President Trump signed a $2 trillion legislative package, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (S. 748). This act will provide more than substantial relief due to the current and projected impact that COVID-19 will have on the country.

What’s Inside The Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package (NPR)

Experience Our Power of Connection

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