Senator M. TERESA RUIZ
District 29 (Essex)
Senator NILSA I. CRUZ-PEREZ
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Appropriates $5 million in federal funds to Department of Health for grants and stipends to ensure health and safety of farm workers.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Economic Growth Committee on July 22, 2020, with amendments.
An Act concerning protective health materials for farm workers, and making an appropriation.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Health the sum of $5 million from a portion of those federal block grant funds allocated to the State from the federal “Coronavirus Relief Fund,” established pursuant to the federal “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” Pub.L.116-136, for use by the department to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to an owner or operator of a farm for the purchase 1or reimbursement1 of personal protection equipment to be provided to farm workers at that farm to protect against the COVID-19 virus. The Commissioner of Health may also, at the commissioner’s discretion, provide grants for the purchase 1or reimbursement1 of other items or materials that would improve the health and safety of farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic 1, including improvements made, or the planning of improvements, to housing and work stations during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Commissioner of Health may also issue stipends to farmworkers who get tested for the COVID-19 virus, test positive, and are subject to a period of mandatory quarantine, but who do not qualify for paid sick leave or unemployment insurance during a period of mandatory quarantine. The amount of any such stipend should be equal to half of the total pay that a farm worker would ordinarily receive for two weeks of work with their current farm employer. A stipend may not be awarded more than one time per individual1.
b. The Department of Health shall provide notice on its Internet website of the availability of funding for the purchase of personal protection equipment, or other health and safety items or materials, for farm workers pursuant to this section. An owner or operator of a farm may apply for a grant in the form and manner prescribed by the department.
c. As used in this section:
“Farm worker” means any employee engaged to labor on a farm in the production, harvesting, and processing of agricultural products, and shall include any employee subject to the provisions of subsection d. of section 5 of P.L.1966, c.113 (C.34:11-56a4).
“Personal protection equipment” means equipment, such as gloves and masks, to minimize the spread of disease.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.