New Jersey’s Expanded WARN Obligation to Take Effect in April 2023
It has been three years since we updated you on New Jersey’s law that proposed to amend the state’s mini-WARN Act (Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act).
As we reported at the time, the law was supposed to go into effect on July 19, 2020. However, as with so many things, the pandemic caused New Jersey to indefinitely delay implementation of these revisions.
That delay came to end on January 10, 2023, when Governor Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill No. 4768 which provided that these significant amendments will take effect on April 10, 2023.
The significant revisions to the New Jersey WARN include:
90 Day Notice Obligations. Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 90 days’ advance notice (versus the current 60 days under federal and New Jersey law) to impacted employees before terminations due to a mass layoff, termination of operations, or transfer of operations.
Mandatory severance. Employers must provide discharged employees with severance pay equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment. The severance obligation is in place even if the employer provided the employees with the proper advance notice. This is a significant change from current New Jersey law which only requires severance if the employer fails to comply with the advance notice obligations.
Threshold for mass layoffs. The new law requires notice under more circumstances than the current New Jersey law. Specifically, the new law requires notice whenever there is a mass layoff impacting at least 50 employees working at or reporting to an establishment. This is true even if that total number of employees does not comprise at least 33 percent of the employees at the worksite (the current requirement).
Expanded counting and coverage of part-time employees. As amended, the law will require employers to count part-time employees in determining both the count for purposes of whether the entity is a covered employer (100 total employees) and whether there is a mass layoff off (50 employees impacted). This means that employers must now provide part-time employees the 90 days’ advance notice and severance pay, just like full-time employees.
Expanded statewide definition of “establishment.” Under the amendments, the definition of establishment includes a single location or a group of locations such that employers are required to combine their locations in New Jersey in assessing whether the employer meets the 50 employee threshold.
Again, these amendments become effective on April 10, 2023. As such, reductions in force impacting employees in New Jersey before April 10, 2023 fall under the current federal and New Jersey WARN laws.
We recently provided an update on these requirements, and all employers — not just those with interests in the Garden State — should be careful about considering state law issues that may impact these decisions.