COVID-19: Frequently Asked Labor and Employment Questions
NJ CAR has produced a very comprehensive FAQ regarding labor and employment questions surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can access he FAQ HERE.
Governor Murphy Asked To Delay Remittance Of Sales Tax
NJ CAR has joined with the leaders of seven other New Jersey trade associations, encouraging Governor Murphy to allow for a 60-day delay for businesses to remit sales tax and put some liquidity into the small business community.
You can review the letter HERE.
Governor Murphy 2:00 PM Press Conference
Governor Murphy did not make any new pronouncements during his press conference. However, he did say the State would be “tightening” social distancing requirements, as early as tomorrow (Saturday, March 21st), but no details were provided.
NJ Legislature Approves Emergency Legislation In Response To Crisis
The Legislature has approved an emergency package of bills mobilized in response to the global coronavirus crisis that’s shuttered schools and businesses across New Jersey.
The two dozen measures authorize grants to help schools purchase equipment for remote learning, to help small businesses meet payroll and for food banks to stock their shelves.
The package includes $10 million in aid to New Jersey workers (S2293) who miss work — but don’t qualify for unemployment — because their child’s school is closed, they are ill or they need to care for a family member. It sets aside another $10 million to assist employers who continue to pay employees ordered into quarantine.
Legislative leaders have said that they expect these bills to be just the first wave as lawmakers try to respond to an unprecedented crisis. Senate President Steve Sweeney announced last week that he will be introducing legislation to extend unemployment insurance benefits and suspend payroll and sales tax collections. Those proposals have not been formalized at this time.
Some of the other bills heading to the governor would:
- (A3841) Extend the state’s April 15 tax deadline if the federal government extends its filing or payment deadline first. The federal government already has given people more time to pay their taxes, though its deadline to file still stands.
- (A3845) Permit the state’s Economic Development Authority to offer business grants during a declared emergency toward “the planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, improving, equipping, furnishing of a program,” including grants for working capital and meeting payroll.
- (A3848) Prohibit employers in the state from firing or refusing to reinstate an employee who takes time off work on the recommendation of their health care provider because the employee has or may have the novel coronavirus.
Department of Homeland Security Identifies Auto Repair As “Essential”
The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has identified dozens of workforce categories as essential to critical infrastructure and has included auto repair technicians as one of those categories. You can review the CISA Memorandum HERE.
Update On New Jersey Motor Vehicle Operations
Dealer Temps (both resident and non-resident) have been extended for 60 days. Dealerships should feel fee to provide a copy of Order 2020-01 to their customers to keep in their vehicle.
Submission of all 2020 Dealer License Renewals have been extended until May 31, 2020. The expiration date of dealer plates and registrations have been extended until June 30, 2020.
Congress Expands Paid Leave in Response to COVID-19
American Fidelity has provided a great synopsis of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was passed earlier this week. You can access their analysis HERE.
Federal Stimulus Update
Yesterday, Senate Republicans released a proposed $1 trillion coronavirus economic package (S.3548) called the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill includes direct financial help for Americans, relief for small businesses, help for impacted industries and efforts to bolster the health care system.
Lawmakers are currently discussing the initial proposal and there is widespread agreement that a measure needs to be passed quickly.
The initial plan includes:
- Direct payments of $1,200 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 annually, and $2,400 for eligible married couples making less than $150,000 combined, with an additional $500 for every child.
- The amount of money is reduced by $5 for every $100 that a person earns over $75,000, so Americans earning more than $99,000 will get nothing.
- Income levels, marital status, and number of children would be based on 2018 tax filings.
Businesses and corporate loans:
- $150 billion for other large businesses.
- $300 billion for small businesses.
- $50 billion in loan guarantees for passenger air carriers.
- $8 billion for cargo air carriers.
Delays filing deadline for tax returns:
- Extends the April 15 filing date to July 15.
- Waives penalties for early withdrawal from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes of up to $100,000.
- Enables the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments.
- Allows students who were forced to drop out of school due to coronavirus to keep their Pell grants.
The bill is expected to be voted on early next week.
Common Sense Tips For Helping Prevent The Spread of COVID-19
Everyone relies on their vehicles, particularly for trips to the supermarket and for emergency use during a pandemic. In a crisis like this, it’s important that customers can get their vehicles serviced and available for use as needed. This reality makes the automotive retail industry essential business.
With the crisis evolving by the hour, it’s important for dealers to communicate what they are doing to keep their employees and customers safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Below are some common-sense safety steps that many dealers have already put in place:
- Place hand-sanitizer and/or cleaning wipes at each service writers desk and any other area where people interact.
- Service writers, porters, and techs should wear protective gloves.
- Porters and techs should clean door handles, steering wheels, and shifters when taking and returning customer vehicles.
- Customer common areas should be cleaned and disinfected on a continual schedule.
- Employees should wash hands before and after close contact with others, or after contact with potentially infected surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and areas such as door handles, restrooms, and office furniture on a continual schedule.
- Some dealerships are placing plastic covers over steering wheels before driving the vehicle. Porters are also replacing with a new one upon returning.
- All employees should wash hands before and after eating.
And of course, everyone should follow the CDC Guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.