In August 1988, Congress passed the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to help workers and communities adjust to the effects of layoff and plant closings. This act gives workers sufficient time to seek other employment or retraining opportunities before closing their jobs. Under existing NJ WARN, employers with 100 or more employees nationwide who report to an establishment, defined below, must provide at least sixty (60) days’ notice before discharging any employee as part of a mass layoff, termination of operations, or transfer of operations.
On January 10, 2023, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the long-awaited NJ WARN amendments, these were originally proposed in 2020 but delayed due to the pandemic. The amendments that we outlined below will go into effect April 10, 2023.
The amended law now applies to any employer with 100 or more employees, regardless of full-time or part-time status, working any number of hours, anywhere in the United States, regardless of tenure. It is triggered when there is a termination of 50 employees working at or reporting to a NJ establishment within a 30-day period, unless termination is for misconduct.
- A NJ establishment is defined as a place of employment which has been operated by the employers for more than three years, not including temporary construction sites. It can be a single location, or a number of locations located in NJ.
- The number of impacted employees is now aggregated across any and all establishments operated within the state and no longer restricts counting to a single site of employment.
- NJ WARN is now triggered when the number of impacted employees is 50 or more, this number no longer needs to represent one third of full-time employees.
Counting Part-time Status
- The law no longer distinguishes between full-time and part-time employees and now employees with less than 6 months tenure are also included.
- Part-time employees must be counted in both the 100-employee threshold (for a covered employer) and 50-employee threshold (for a termination of operations or a mass layoff).
Mandatory Severance Agreement Requirements
- Severance pay is now required even if 90-days’ notice is provided. Employers must provide all impacted employees one week of pay for each full year of employment.
- Employees may not waive their right to severance under NJ WARN without state or court approval.
Notice Obligation Period
- The notice period has been altered from 60-days to 90-days. If an employer fails to provide 90-days’ notice, they must pay each affected employee an additional four weeks of severance pay.
In addition to NJ WARN, employers in the state will also need to ensure they comply with the Federal WARN Act provisions.
Employer Next Steps
- Continue to monitor regulations which will be issued by New Jersey’s Department of Labor.
- Determine your headcount and put a process in place to monitor it to know if/when this Act applies to your organization.
- If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like further assistance, please email us.
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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.