Coronavirus Updates | Latest News

Cornavirus Update- “Return To Work” Information, Health Emergency Extended, Lobbying For “By Appointment” Sales, NJMVC Extends Local Agency Closures

May 07, 2020

Genova Burns Releases Guide To Developing A “Return To Work” Plan

Now is the time for employers to formulate action plans for returning employees to the workplace. Genova Burns has developed a very informative list of Frequently Asked Questions to help guide dealers through the development of a return to work plan.

Back to Business New Jersey: Essential FAQs for Return-to-Work Planning


Written Terms & Conditions of Employee Reinstatement Are Essential
To Avoid Misunderstanding and Potential Employer Liability

Returning employees to work who have been terminated or furloughed due to business interruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic can be much more complicated than it seems. For example, some employees may have legally-protected reasons for refusing to return to work, such as their exercise of rights to paid or unpaid leave under applicable federal or State laws. Also, to the extent an employee is not returned to the same position or offered the same compensation, they may continue to receive unemployment benefits. Additionally, employees subject to collective bargaining agreements may have special rights.
Memorializing the terms and conditions of an employee’s reinstatement in a written, formal notice to return to work will reduce legal exposure. Of course, the precise content of correspondence to employees will vary depending on each dealer’s unique business/financial situation and the composition of their workforce. NJ CAR suggests that any such correspondence provide the following information, questions and notifications to employees before reinstatement:
  • The date and time of reinstatement;
  • Any conditions on the length of reinstatement, if any (e.g., 8 weeks);
  • A statement that the employer will take all necessary precautions to ensure employees’ health and safety, including strict compliance with all applicable New Jersey Executive and Administrative Orders and guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA);
  • Employees will be provided with face masks and gloves;
  • An internal point of contact for questions or concerns regarding reinstatement (e.g., the dealer’s HR manager or the employee’s department manager), and the contact information for that individual;
  • A requirement that the employee confirm with their assigned point of contact, by a date certain, that they will return to work as requested;
  • An inquiry to the employee as to whether he or she possesses valid reasons to delay returning to work, and if so, a request that an explanation of such reasons be provided to their assigned point of contact;
  • A notice that if the employee decides not to return to work, it could be considered a voluntary resignation and may affect their eligibility for New Jersey Unemployment Insurance benefits;
  • A notice to employees that they have an affirmative obligation to advise the New Jersey Division of Unemployment Insurance that they declined reinstatement;
  • A notice to employees that if they decide not to return to work and are currently receiving Company-sponsored health insurance, the date such coverage will end and the fact that they may be eligible for continuation coverage under COBRA;
  • Confirmation that continued employment at the dealership is “at will” (only if the employee is not subject to a collective bargaining agreement or other applicable contract of employment).
NJ CAR has developed a template letter, which may be useful in constructing your communications with employees regarding reinstatement. This template is for general informational purposes only and does not provide or constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney familiar with applicable laws and your dealership’s operations to obtain specific advice with respect to these matters.

Gov. Murphy Extends Public Health Emergency;
Looks To Reopen More Businesses

Governor Phil Murphy, yesterday, signed Executive Order No. 138 which extends the Public Health Emergency declared on March 9, 2020 and last extended on April 7. The State, second only to New York in the number of total COVID-19 cases and deaths, is currently in its seventh week of orders requiring residents to stay home, banning gatherings and mandating nonessential businesses close to fight the spread of the virus.

Gov. Murphy, facing increasing pressure from lawmakers and the business community, is also looking at options for letting more New Jersey businesses safely reopen with curbside service or other social distancing guidelines.

NJ CAR Lobbies Gov. Murphy To Allow Dealership Sales “By Appointment”

NJ CAR has presented the Governor’s Office with a plan and has been lobbying them for weeks to allow dealership showrooms to reopen “by appointment only,” with all recommended social distancing and health and safety measures in place to ensure the safety of dealership employees and customers.

Delaware and Connecticut have been allowing “by appointment” sales for several weeks and, today, New York has also begun allowing dealerships the same flexibility. NJ CAR has renewed its plea to Governor Murphy to allow New Jersey dealership to conduct “by appointment” sales. We encourage you to read the letter sent earlier today to Governor Murphy, as well as NJ CAR’s complete Showroom Reopening Proposal. Dozens of other business groups have also submitted policy recommendations to help revive the New Jersey economy.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and a growing chorus of lawmakers and business leaders, continue to urge the Governor to permit businesses to reopen, as long as they follow social-distancing guidelines.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin is looking down the road at how New Jersey repairs the economic damage caused by a nearly two-month long shutdown of non-essential businesses. He has noted that, when the economy does reopen, legislators will be faced with businesses (and their customers) who have suffered financially at the same time that State revenues have dropped significantly. Speaker Coughlin says the State should focus on bringing back areas of the economy that are most likely to generate jobs.

Local NJMVC Agency Closures Extended Until May 26

Headquarters, Online Services to Continue Operations

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton today announced that all local motor vehicle agencies, road testing, and inspection facilities will remain closed until at least Tuesday, May 26. The closures are part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

This extension has NO impact on NJ CAR Motor Vehicle Operations (DSP and Online Services) which remain open to process all dealership motor vehicle title work.

For more information, read the complete press release HERE or check for the latest information and updates.