Following Senate Bill 2353, amendments to New Jersey's mini-WARN Act that were scheduled to take effect on July 19, 2020 will now take effect 90 days after the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency as declared by the Governor's Executive Order 103 of 2020.
Senate Bill 2353 also clarifies that closings due to fires, floods, natural disasters, acts of war, national emergencies, civil disorder, or industrial sabotage, are excluded from the Act's definition of mass layoff. Mass layoffs related to COVID-19 are also excluded from the law's severance requirements. Senate Bill 2353 is effective immediately and retroactive to March 9, 2020.
The NJ mini-WARN Act requires covered employers to provide 60 days advance notice for mass layoffs or an impending termination or transfer of operations. A covered employer is an employer that has been in operation in the State of New Jersey for more than three years and employs 100 or more full-time employees.
Senate Bill 3170:
Senate Bill 3170 amends the New Jersey mini-WARN Act as follows:
- Covers smaller employers: As amended, the Act applies to any reduction in force within a 30-day period that results in the termination of 50 or more (full-time or part-time) employees (regardless of their length of service) at any of the employer's locations within the state. This applies to locations that have been in operation for at least three years. Previously, the Act applied to layoffs of 500 or more full-time employees or to 50 or more full-time employees representing at least one-third of the employees at a single site.
- Notification period extended: Employers must now provide 90 days advance notice, instead of 60 days.
- Severance pay required: Employers must provide impacted employees with one week of severance pay for each year of employment. Employees who fail to receive notice within 90 days are entitled to an additional four weeks of severance pay. Severance pay includes backpay and losses associated with termination, and must be paid in full upon termination.
- Changes in control: Employers must provide employees with 15 days advance notice before a change in control. Additionally, successor employers must retain, for at least 180 days, all employees who have been employed by their employer for at least 90 days immediately before the change of control. Successor employers are also prohibited from reducing the employees' pay.
See Senate Bill 3170 for additional detail on pay and notification requirements.
Covered employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the amended Act. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.