More Changes in New Jersey Employment Law Potentially on the Way
New Jersey’s legislature has once again approved a series of bills that seek to provide relief to New Jersey residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these bills are two changes that significantly impact employers.
COVID-19 Changes to Family Leave
Senate Bill 2374 expands the “Family Leave Act” (“FLA”) to include leave from employment so that an employee may provide care to a family member made necessary by an epidemic of a communicable disease, a known or suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or efforts to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. The amendments to the FLA will allow employees forced to care for family members during the COVID-19 outbreak to take up to 12 weeks of family leave in a 24-month period without losing their jobs.
COVID-19 Changes to Layoffs
Senate Bill 2353 revises the “Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act” (New Jersey’s mini-WARN Act) to provide that the definition of mass layoff does not include a mass layoff that is necessary because of a fire, flood, natural disaster, national emergency, act of war, civil disorder, or industrial sabotage, decertification from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs as provided under Titles XVIII and XIX of the federal “Social Security Act,” Pub.L. 74-271 (45 U.S.C. s.1395 et seq.) or license revocation pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et al.).
In addition, the bill makes the change to the definition of mass layoff retroactive to March 9, 2020. This definition would bring New Jersey’s WARN Act more in line with the federal WARN Act which already provides an exception for job losses caused by natural disasters. It would also give a reprieve to employers who would otherwise be covered by the Act from paying severance pay to employees if the mass layoff was caused by an event described in the new definition.
More on COVID-19
These bills await the Governor’s consideration and approval. We will keep you posted on any further developments on these important issues.