NJ Delays Implementation of More Stringent Mini-WARN Requirements (Inc. Required Severance Pay)
In January 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 3170 into law (the Amendments), which modified New Jersey’s existing mini-WARN act (the Act) to place more significant burdens on employers when conducting mass-layoffs.
- Modifying application of the Act to apply to any layoff of 50 of more employees, without regard for employee tenure or number of hours worked.
- Removing the requirement that a certain percentage of the employer’s workforce be terminated before the Act is triggered (i.e., if 50 employees are terminated by an employer that employs 2,000 people, the Act is still triggered).
- Expanding the notice period prior to termination from 60 to 90 days.
- Expanded application to all of an employers’ facilities within New Jersey (i.e., if 50 layoffs occur spread over three facilities, the Act is still triggered).
- Expanding application to all employers with 100 or more employees, without regard for tenure or number of hours worked.
- And, most importantly, requiring severance to all employees terminated in a mass-layoff in the amount of one week of severance pay for each year of service.
The Amendments were scheduled to become effective on July 19, 2020. These Amendments were contemplated and enacted in a pre-COVID-19 world.
However, on April 16, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Senate Bill 2353 into law, which delays the effective date of the Amendments until the 90th day following termination of the Governor’s state of emergency declared in response to COVID-19. While the Amendments are still going to be effective at some point in the future, the burdens placed on employers have been delayed until 90 days after the state of emergency associated with the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Employers need to remain cognizant of their obligations under the federal WARN Act and New Jersey’s mini-WARN Act, as they continue to navigate the challenges created by the COVID-19 national emergency.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Co-authors Jonathan Krause, partner and Gregory Sellers, associate are members of the labor and employment practice group at Klehr Harrison.