Rachel H. Khedouri, Esq.
Nearly three years ago on January 28, 2020, we reported (HERE) that the New Jersey legislature made significant changes to the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification, or “mini-WARN” Act imposing significant new obligations on companies during mass layoffs, plant closings or transfers of operations. These changes originally were set to begin July 19, 2020, but the effective date was delayed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to 90 days after termination of the state of emergency in New Jersey – leading to uncertainty about when exactly the new obligations would begin (see our eAlerts HERE and HERE). On January 10, 2023, the Governor approved Assembly Bill 4768 making the mini-WARN Act amendments effective on April 10, 2023 (i.e., 90 days from approval).
As amended, the NJ mini-WARN Act:
- Applies to all employers with 100 employees, regardless of hours of work or length of service of those employees;
- Is triggered by the termination of 50 or more full- or part-time employees in the state during any 30-day period (or a 90-day period under certain circumstances);
- Requires 90 days’ notice to impacted employees;
- Mandates guaranteed severance to each impacted employee in the amount of one week of pay per year of service, with an additional four weeks if timely notice is not provided; and
- Provides that severance is considered back pay and must be paid at the same time as the final paycheck.
Employers contemplating a business action that may result in termination of 50 or more employees throughout New Jersey should begin planning to provide the required notice and, where applicable, severance. Although the amendment is not yet in effect, employers may need to take immediate action. Employees whose terminations will be completed by April 9, 2023 should be provided notice by February 8, 2023 under the 60-day requirement currently in effect.
Thereafter, the legislation is open to interpretation as to whether the 90-day notice plus severance requirements apply to a qualifying termination completed on or immediately after April 10, 2023 (and, thus, would require notice to be provided before the effective date of the legislation) or only to terminations that occur following that 90-day window.
To further complicate the issue, litigation challenging the amendments remains pending in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey; we are monitoring this litigation for any judicial action staying the implementation of the amendments. See ERISA Indus. Comm. v. Asaro-Angelo, Case No. 3:20-cv-10094 (BRM) (TJB) (D.N.J. May 20, 2021).
If you need assistance in managing a plant closing, transfer or mass layoff or have other questions about the new obligations under the New Jersey mini-WARN Act, please contact the NFC attorney with whom you typically work or call us at 973.665.9100.