New Jersey Continues to Expand Worker Protections – Mass Layoffs More Expensive
New Jersey continues to become one of the country’s most employee-friendly states. On January 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a slate of employee-friendly bills. In this post, we discuss the significant expansion of rights for employees impacted by mass layoffs. In our next post, we will cover the wave of laws aimed primarily at combatting worker misclassification and expanding potentially liable persons and entities.
S.B. 3170 increases notification time and requires severance pay for mass layoffs. Beginning July 19, 2020, when 50 or more full-time workers are laid off from an establishment in a 30-day period, employers must pay terminated employees severance equaling one week of pay for each full year of employment. The changes to the law also expand the definition of “establishment” form a single employment site to any single or group of locations in New Jersey, meaning that the 50 affected employees do not need to have been employed at the same physical location.
Under the same bill, employers who employ 100 or more employees (whether full-time or part-time) must provide at least 90 days’ notice (instead of 60) of the layoff to affected workers, any union representing affected workers, local officials, and the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. If an employer fails to provide the required notice to any employee, the employer must pay an additional four weeks of pay to that employee.