New Jersey’s Rules Governing Layoffs Become More Onerous (and Costly) for Larger Employers in April 2023



Effective April 10, 2023, amendments to New Jersey’s Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (a/k/a “NJ WARN”) will go into effect. The revised law will provide significantly greater protections and benefits for employees directly impact by reductions in force than currently provided to them by the original version of NJ WARN and the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“federal WARN”).

Both NJ WARN and federal WARN apply to employers with 100 or more employees. The amended NJ WARN will include part-time employees in the 100-employee calculation. With one exception, federal WARN does not count part-time employees in this calculation. Part-time employees include those who work on average fewer than 20 hours per week or who have worked fewer than six months in the last 12 months.

The most significant change in NJ WARN are as follows:

  • More Advance Notice Will Be Required: Employers will need to provide at least 90 days’, instead of 60 days’, advance written notice of a mass layoff, termination of operations, or transfer of operations to (1) the impacted employees (including part-time employees), (2) the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJDLWD”), (3) the chief elected official in each New Jersey municipality where the terminations occur, and (4) the collective bargaining representative(s) of the employees who are impacted.
  • New Severance Pay Requirement: All affected employees (including part-time employees) will be entitled to receive severance pay equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment, even if they receive the required 90-day notice. Employees who do not receive the required notice will be entitled to an additional four weeks of severance pay.
  • Lower Threshold for What Constitutes a Mass Layoff: The 90-day notice and severance pay requirements will be triggered by the termination in a 30-day period (or, in certain circumstances, an aggregated 90-day period) of just 50 or more employees (including part-time employees) located anywhere in New Jersey. The 50-or-more-employees threshold already applies in the case of a termination or transfer of operations, but now part-time employees will be included it that calculation.
  • Remote Employees Will Now Be Counted: In calculating whether 50 or more employees are impacted by a mass layoff, an employer will need to count all employees who work at, or report to, any location in New Jersey. This would include employees who work remotely in other states and report to a New Jersey location.It is possible that a court and/or the NJDLWD might conclude that employees (including part-time employees) who report to a location in New Jersey where there has been a termination or transfer of operations must be counted when determining whether 50 or more employees have been impacted.
  • Expanded Definition of Liable Parties: In addition to the employer itself, the individuals who make “the decision responsible for the employment action that gives rise to a mass layoff subject to notification” will be potentially liable for failure to comply with NJ WARN’s notice and severance pay requirements.

To learn more about the amended version of NJ WARN and read some practical compliance strategies, please see the following legal alerts written by law firms we partner with:

As these articles point out, there are a number of significant ambiguities in the amended version of NJ WARN. Employers will need to proceed carefully in order to comply with the new requirements.

Federal WARN

To learn more about federal WARN, see the U.S. Department of Labor’s resources at Plant Closings and Layoffs.

Questions?

If you are a manager with a nonprofit and have questions about NJ WARN, please contact Christine Michelle Duffy, Esq., in Pro Bono Partnership’s Parsippany office, at cduffy@probonopartner.org or 973-240-6955 x303.

​​This document is provided as a general informational service to volunteers, clients, and friends of Pro Bono Partnership. It should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does distribution of this document create an attorney-client relationship.