[This is an update to our previous alert regarding the expansion of the “New Jersey Mini-WARN Act,” (known as the “Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act”) (the Act), which was set to take effect on July 19, 2020.]
On April 15, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law Senate Bill 2353, which provides, in part, that the definition of a “mass layoff” for purposes of triggering the employee notification and severance requirements under the Act does not apply to a mass layoff resulting from a national emergency. The “national emergency” exception now applies to any company in New Jersey effectuating a mass layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Formerly, the Act was not triggered unless a business terminated operations (as opposed to engaging in a “mass layoff”) due to a “national emergency.” Thus, Senate Bill 2353 makes employer compliance with the Act less onerous because a company remaining operational may effectuate a “mass layoff” due to COVID-19 without having to meet the stringent requirements of the Act. This change applies immediately and is deemed effective as of March 9, 2020. As a result, any “mass layoff” effectuated due to the COVID-19 crisis from March 9, 2020 or after is now exempt from the requirements of the Act.
This Bill also delays the effective date of the expanded Act from July 19, 2020 (as summarized in our previous alert ) until 90 days following the “termination of Executive Order 103 of 2020,” which declared a state of emergency in New Jersey as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That date has yet to be determined. The expanded Act includes, among other requirements, a 90-day notice period rather than a 60-day period, and payment of severance to impacted workers.
Accordingly, the Bill provides clarity and relief for employers who have been struggling with the 60-day notice provision and other requirements of the Act, considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting impact on business were unforeseeable 60 days ago. It further provides employers a little breathing room before the expanded, and more onerous, Act will become effective.
Our team of labor and employment law attorneys are available to assist businesses with their understanding of, and compliance with, this law and other applicable federal and state employment laws.
If you would like to receive our Employment Law Updates directly via email, please click to join our Employment Mailing List.