New Jersey Significantly Expands Notice and Severance Obligations for New Jersey Employers Who Terminate at Least 50 Employees Within a 30-Day or 90-Day Period

By Lorena E. Ahumada

The law, Senate Bill 3170, which drastically expands the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (NJ WARN), was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on January 21, 2010 and goes into effect on July 19, 2020.   It includes the following changes to the current NJ WARN law:

  • The law now applies to all New Jersey employers with at least 100 employees, including both full-time and part-time employees and recent hires. Previously, the law excluded part-time and recently hired employees when determining whether a NJ employer was covered under NJ WARN.
  • The 50-employee NJ WARN trigger now includes both full-time and part-time employees, and aggregates employees from all NJ jobsites of a covered employer.  Part-time employees were not previously counted and the trigger analysis took into consideration terminations per single jobsite only.
  • The required notice of layoff/plant closing/company relocation (resulting in at least 50 employee layoffs) has been expanded to 90 days.  Previously, a covered employer was required to provide 60-day notice of mass layoffs.

Severance is now required if WARN is triggered.  A covered employer must now pay all terminated employees severance equal to at least one week of pay for each year of employment. This is in addition to providing the 90-day notice.  Previously, the law only required severance pay in the event an employer failed to provide the required notice of terminations.  Along with the new financial obligation, employers must be careful when conditioning a severance payment on a release of claims.  In order for such a release to be effective, employers must provide a severance that is more than what the law requires under WARN in order for the release to be binding against the employee.

Employees may not waive their right to severance under the NJ WARN Act, unless approved by the State or a court.