That prediction has borne fruit. (Especially for NJ employee-rights class action lawyers.)
On Tuesday, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation to amend the effective date of the changes to NJ’s mini-WARN amendments. Originally, NJ planned to delay the effective date of the amendment until 90 days after Governor Murphy terminated his stay-at-home executive order. Now the amendments will take effect in 90 days from January 10, 2023, which is April 10, 2023.
This SHRM article summarizes the changes:
- Notice is triggered by a termination of 50 or more employees located anywhere in the state (i.e., terminations are not counted separately at different sites of employment) and regardless of tenure or hours of work (i.e., there is no distinction between full-time and part-time employees).
- The amendments eliminate the rule that a mass layoff is triggered only if at least 33 percent of the workforce is affected.
- The notice period for a mass layoff or plant closing is increased to 90 days (from 60 currently).
- Severance pay is automatic, and the law requires employers to provide severance pay equal to one week for each year of service. If the employer fails to give 90 days’ notice, the severance obligation is increased by four weeks of pay for each employee.
- Employees may not waive their right to severance under NJ WARN without state or court approval.
- The law would apply to employers with at least 100 employees located anywhere in the United States, regardless of tenure or hours of work, so long as the employer has operated in New Jersey for more than three years.
Local employers with 100 or more employees that are planning large reductions in force in 2023, or perhaps a series of smaller layoffs that may exceed 50 or more in the aggregate, should consider these new rules and consult outside counsel.