Expansion of New Jersey WARN Act Draws Near

Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

In January 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Loss Job Notification Act (“NJ WARN Act”) requiring employers to provide severance to employees who lose their job in a mass reduction in force.  Due to the pandemic, New Jersey amended the effective date of the NJ WARN Act to 90 days after the termination of Executive Order 103 (“EO 103”) of 2020, which declares a state of emergency in New Jersey due to COVID-19.

Currently, EO 103 is set to expire on June 13, 2021.  Governor Murphy indicated that EO 103 may not be extended further if New Jersey manages the ongoing threat to public health without the need of the state of emergency.  If EO 103 expires on June 13, 2021, the NJ WARN Act will go into effect on September 11, 2021.

The most significant changes to New Jersey’s current WARN Act include the following:

  • Applies to employers with at least 100 employees, regardless of tenure or hours of work;
  • Revises the definition of “mass layoff” to mean a reduction in force, during a 30-day period, that results in the termination of 50 or more employees, regardless of full-time or part-time classification;
  • Provides severance equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment to employees who lose their job in a layoff, transfer or plant closing that results in the termination of employment of 50 or more employees;
  • Increases notice to 90 days to each employee whose employment is to be terminated as part of a covered mass layoff, transfer, or plant closing;
  • Automatically provides severance pay equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment – with additional severance due if notice is not given; and
  • Employees may not waive their right to severance under the law without state or court approval.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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