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Business association says New Jersey workplace shortages need government help


Small business owners must deal with severe burdens in keeping up with labor shortages and supply chain demands and delays, the state leader of the National Federation of Independent Business in New Jersey said.

Eileen Kean, of New Jersey NFIB, said during a dinner conversation the discussion turned to a startup food truck business. Everybody said it’s great that the truck driver/cook was making $20 an hour.

“But the 20 bucks an hour, that’s become standard fare. That’s what it takes now to get an employee, to keep an employee who’s reliable, who you can count on, who will show up and serve their shifts,” she told The Center Square.

Keeping up with labor shortages and supply chain delays makes getting products on shelves very challenging, she said.

The sectors suffering the most are the restaurant and food delivery businesses, with pubs, taverns and restaurants struggling to get the critical chain of employees necessary to run their businesses, Kean said.

“We’ve seen our members who reach out to the local high schools now trying to work out shifts that the high school kids can work,” she said. “It’s just very, very difficult to maintain reliability.”

Diners can see this when they go out to eat as they can gauge the experience of the help, which might be very little. Or they might notice the restaurant managed to hire and retain reliable people, which can be seen in the spirit of the establishment, she said.

“Trying to address the staff shortages right now continues to require government intervention,” Kean said.

More money must go to improve day care and creating more opportunities for parents needing day care, she said.

The New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee was asked on March 23 to adopt incentives and programs so the pay for preschool teachers and other early childhood educators is comparable to pay for elementary and secondary school teachers, the New Jersey Monitor reported.

Workers and businesses need government reassurance that COVID-19 is slowly moving behind us so those parents who opted to not go back to work can get back out the door and return to the workplace, Kean said.

That definitely plays a big part in the positive nature that the government can maintain and part of that is that the government has to go back to work, Kean said.

“What kind of message does it send when a New Jersey resident finds out that the Department of Labor, their employees only are going into the office twice a week?’” she asked. “Where they call the Department of Consumer Affairs checking up on ‘Hey, what happened to my nail shop license? How come you haven’t renewed my nail shop license?’ And you find out that there are no employees going to Consumer Affairs, everybody’s still working from home.”

She said that sends the wrong message to everyone in the state because if the government isn’t going back to work, then maybe it isn’t safe for anyone else to return.

This article was originally posted on Business association says New Jersey workplace shortages need government help

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