Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development today urged businesses to keep their employees on payroll throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, and announced that employers will be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar federal payroll tax credit against costs incurred by doing so.
“This is available to 99.8% of businesses in New Jersey,” Murphy said at his daily COVID-19 briefing. “We cannot urge employers enough to keep their workers on payroll throughout this crisis.”
The payroll tax credit will be provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
The federal law, which goes into effect tomorrow (April 1), provides support to employers to provide federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave to workers affected by COVID-19.
Under the act’s federal paid sick leave program, an employee is entitled to 80 hours (up to two weeks) of paid leave. Under the act’s expanded Family and Medical Leave program, an employee is entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, the first two weeks of which are unpaid, and the remaining 10 weeks of which are paid.
Those seeking more information can visit covid19.nj.gov.
Additionally, Murphy said that workers who are eligible for unemployment insurance will receive an additional $600 per week through July 31 as a result of the federal relief bill passed last week.
Numbers and Testing
As expected, New Jersey’ statewide total of positive COVID-19 cases continues to climb, as 2,196 new cases were reported overnight, bringing the overall number of cases to 18,696. This includes 69 new deaths with 267 total fatalities reported as a result of the virus.
Murphy pointed out that the state’s aggressive testing is contributing to the large number of positive cases, but reinforced that the rising numbers do not come as a surprise.
He also said that New Jersey received its fourth personal protective equipment (PPE) shipment from FEMA, which included more than 260,000 pieces including masks and gloves.
New Restrictions on Certain Prescription Medications
In an effort to combat the hoarding of drugs that have been touted as possible treatments for COVID-19, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced statewide restrictions for prescribing and dispensing certain medications.
The division’s order, effective immediately and until further notice, mandates that any prescription for a drug in short supply due to its use in possible treatment of COVID-19, such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, must include a diagnosis or diagnostic code and should be supported in the patient’s record. Prescriptions without this information are invalid and may not be filled by pharmacists.
“Stockpiling and hoarding drugs, and inappropriate prescribing for friends and family, is unacceptable,” Grewal said. “The action we are taking today protects the drug supply so that medications are available when necessary for those who need them most.”
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