New Jersey will offer $500 return-to-work bonuses for unemployed residents in their first paycheck after hiring under the new Return & Earn Program. Employers may receive up to $10,000 in wage subsidies to hire and train new employees for up to six months. Businesses must have 100 or fewer employees and the positions they’re looking to fill need to pay at least $15 an hour to be eligible for the subsidies.

The goal of the Return and Earn program is to help employers fill jobs while assisting unemployed people, state officials said. New Jersey’s employment rate was 7.2% as of August, down from 7.8% at the start of the year. The money will come from federal aid and the state is capping the program at $10 million. Murphy noted that if there’s high demand for it he’ll consider spending more to fund it.

According to the administration, Return & Earn will reimburse employers for half of the wages paid for regular hours worked. The total reimbursement will be capped at $10,000 per new employee, and at $40,000 per employer. The reimbursement will be valid whether the training occurs in-person at the job site or virtually.

Murphy announced “the broad strokes” of the new program on Monday September 27th and said the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development “stands ready to help connect businesses with job seekers.”

The NJ DOL will have additional information on the program once it goes live at:

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