COMP NEWS – The unemployment rate currently sits at 5.2%, and while this is a drop of .2% from last month, the rate is still higher than it was at this time two years ago. This has left many wondering how to further accelerate the recovery of the labor market and encourage unemployed individuals to return to work. For this, New Jersey has recently launched their own, incentive-based, recovery solution.

Governor Phil Murphy announced a new initiative Monday that is aimed at getting the unemployed back into the workforce.

They are calling the solution “Return and Earn” and are hoping that it will quicken workers’ return to the workforce and help small businesses with some of their issues stemming from labor shortages.

The “Return and Earn” program will provide a $500 incentive for unemployed workers reentering the workforce and receiving job training from businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Eligible businesses will then be reimbursed for 50% of the wages paid for regular hours worked during the contracted employer-provided training period.


Employers can also receive the wage subsidy for up to six months, up to the cap of $10,000 per “Return and Earn” employee and are limited to a total “Return and Earn” subsidy across all employees of $40,000. 


“The Murphy Administration is committed to doing everything we can to help our workers and businesses overcome the labor challenges of the economic recovery,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “The Return and Earn program will assist New Jerseyans in returning to the workforce, and provide employers with the resources they need to fill the vital positions that will allow them to grow and thrive. The pandemic may have put our workers through the ringer, but this Administration is prepared with the tools to get every Garden State worker back on track and earning a steady income.”

This incentive creates a unique precedent that will be interesting to follow as other states look to encourage workers to return to work.

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