EDA temporarily waiving rule employees ‘work at site’ 80% of time to earn incentive awards

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced Thursday afternoon that it is waiving certain specific requirements related to employee presence in the office for the recipients of awards under employment-based incentive programs.

In other words, companies that want to encourage their employees to work from home as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic won’t risk losing grants from the state for not meeting the requirement that a full-time employee “spend at least 80% of his or her time at the site” to meet the definition of a “full-time employee at the qualified business facility.”

The waiver applies to recipients of awards under the Business Employment Incentive Program, Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program, Urban Transit Hub Program and the Grow New Jersey Program.

Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the EDA, said the organization wants to make sure all companies put the health and safety of their employees first.

“As companies across the state formulate plans to continue conducting business while mitigating the potential risk of COVID-19, this waiver will alleviate concern about jeopardizing incentives for which they have been approved,” he said in a statement. “Health and safety are our top priorities, and we want to support companies in making decisions that protect their employees and communities while ensuring New Jersey’s economic well-being.”

This waiver will apply if the recipient provides documentation from its human resources department that demonstrates its work from home policy directly relates to COVID-19 and the communication to the recipient’s staff that the policy has been invoked. This documentation shall be included in the recipient’s 2020 annual certification submission and an email to the recipient’s servicing officer should be sent notifying the NJEDA that this temporary waiver has been instituted.

The EDA said the waiver only applies to the time the state is in a public health emergency and that a state of emergency, as proclaimed in executive order 103, is in effect.

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