NJ Department of Labor Awards EANJ Grant for Outreach and Training

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The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) has selected Employers Association of New Jersey (EANJ) as a recipient of the Cultivating Access, Rights and Equity (CARE) Grant Program for fiscal year 2023.

The purpose of the CARE Grant Program is to increase New Jersey employers’ awareness of, and workers’ equitable access to, paid family and medical leave benefits (Temporary Disability Insurance and Family Leave Insurance), Earned Sick Leave, and related work rights.  The grant focuses on workers and industries who are less likely to have awareness of or meaningful access to paid leave.

EANJ will utilize the funding to provide outreach and education to employers statewide through May of 2024.

“EANJ is thrilled to be selected as a recipient of this grant,” says Amy Vazquez, the Association’s Vice President.  “Supporting employers through outreach and education is the very foundation of EANJ’s mission and we look forward to working with (LWD) on this important initiative.”

Because of the broad applicability of New Jersey’s paid leave programs, the vast majority of employees working in the state are eligible for earned sick leave, family leave insurance and temporary disability insurance.  Despite the wide-spread availability of benefits, awareness of these programs is lacking.  

According to EANJ’s 2019 survey of 375 NJ businesses, most paid leave claims were filed by women, usually to care for newborn babies (89% of claims), and uptake of benefits was particularly low among smaller employers, with only 2 in 10 (20%) having filed a claim for family leave insurance benefits in the 12-month period preceding the survey.  

Most employers underestimate the benefits of paid leave benefits on their businesses and overestimate the burden it will have on their operations.  However, with regard to Family Leave Insurance in particular, EANJ’s survey illustrates a low administrative burden, with 40% of employers responding that administering an FLI claim took less than 1 hour and 43% responding it took between 1-2 hours.

Of the 315,000 private sector business establishments in the state, 96% employ fewer than 50 employees. “Raising awareness among the small business community is essential for achieving equity for all workers,” says Vazquez.  “These benefits are often status quo in larger organizations but small employers routinely deny or are unaware of how these laws apply to them.”

When New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave law took effect in 2018, EANJ served as the go-to information source for employers statewide.  When Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits were expanded in 2019, EANJ was at the forefront of bringing essential information and timely updates to employers.

EANJ will be available to speak with and providing training for members of industry-specific trade associations, business chambers, Workforce Development Boards and partner associations among others, on earned sick leave and paid family and medical leave.

“This grant will allow EANJ to bring the collective expertise of our staff to a wide-range of employers statewide,” says Vazquez.

Those interested in having EANJ address their business group can reach out directly to Amy Vazquez (amy@eanj.org).