'Mini' WARN Act in New Jersey Just Got Super-Sized

03 February 2020 Publication
Authors: John S. Lord Jr

When your company needs to do a mass layoff, you should already be thinking about the following issues:

  • How and when you will communicate the decision to employees
  • Whether the reduction will adversely impact any particular protected groups
  • Making sure you get age-compliant releases under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act
  • Reviewing whether federal WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act notices need to be given
  • Reviewing whether any state “mini-WARN” notices need to be given

The reason for the last bullet point is that state laws can provide employees with extra rights when it comes to job loss notifications.  For any employers with employees in New Jersey, the job loss notification law just got a lot stricter.

Employers doing mass layoffs in New Jersey will not only need to provide proper advance notice, they will also now need to pay mandated severance.  Employers will need to pay a week’s wages for each year of service to all employees in a mass layoff of 50 or more. Employers will also now need to provide 90 days’ advance notice, not the 60 days required under current federal and New Jersey law.  Employers that fail to provide the proper 90 days’ notice will owe employees an extra four weeks’ severance pay.

The New Jersey law goes into effect on July 19, 2020.

Many of the nuances of the federal WARN law are also being eliminated under the New Jersey law.  No longer will the focus be on a “single site of employment,” but rather on all facilities in the state.  Part-time and newer employees (even those with less than six months’ tenure) will also count when calculating the 50-employee trigger.

This “mini” WARN law will deliver mighty benefits for affected employees.

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