As discussed in prior alerts issued by our firm (HERE and HERE), New Jersey enacted legislation amending the New Jersey Warn Act (officially known as the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act) to include mandatory severance pay and expanded notice requirements in mass layoffs. Although the legislation had initially been scheduled to take effect on July 19, 2020, implementation was delayed by legislative amendment until “the 90th day next following the termination of Executive Order 103,” the March 9, 2020 Order declaring both a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency in New Jersey.
As we reported previously, there was some confusion over whether Governor Murphy’s June 4, 2021 issuance of Executive Order 244 terminating the Public Health Emergency portion of Executive Order 103 began the 90-day period for the effective date of the NJ Warn Act amendments or the commencement of the 90-day period would be further delayed.
What is the latest update? A law suit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey challenging the NJ Warn Act amendments. On June 25, 2021, the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey filed a letter with the court in that matter confirming the State’s position that Executive Order 103 remains in effect and concluding that the 90-day period for the effective date of the NJ Warn Act amendments has not yet been triggered. Thus, it appears that the State will not attempt to enforce the amendments until 90 days following the date Governor Murphy ultimately ends the State of Emergency and Executive Order 103 is terminated in its entirety.
Next Steps for Employers
We are continuing to monitor these developments. In the interim, since we do not know exactly when the amendments will be triggered, we recommend that New Jersey employers continue to review their existing layoff and severance policies and be prepared to meet the new NJ Warn Act requirements once they are effective.