By Nicholas J. Fiorenza, Managing Partner & PIA Association Counsel, Ferrara Fiorenza PC
Most employers are aware of the federal WARN Act and its implications for companies shutting down or significantly reducing force in their operations. Various states have their own “plant closing” laws which place additional requirements on employers. New Jersey is one such state which recently changed its “WARN” Act to provide greater protection to employees and additional obligations for covered employers.
Highlights of the change in New Jersey law, which applies to any employer with 100 or more full-time employees, include:
– Perhaps most significantly, the law increases the severance requirements New Jersey employers are required to pay. Prior to the change, the law only required severance pay if employers neglected to give employees the required notice of layoff. Now, employees laid off under circumstances covered by the law are guaranteed one week of severance pay for each year they have worked with the company. Further, employers failing to provide required notice under the law have an increased severance obligation applied as a penalty.
– Broader application. The prior law triggered a notice requirement when 33% of the workforce was laid off. Further, employees would not be counted in the 100-employee threshold unless they met a “time employed” requirement. These requirements no longer exist; all full-time employees are counted for compliance purposes and notice is required when 50 employees or more are laid off, regardless of the percentage they represent.
– Prior law provided that notice requirements were applied to a single employer location. Now the employer’s total state operations are considered.
– Formerly, the law required 60 days’ notice; this has been increased to 90 days.
It is now more important than ever for covered New Jersey employers to understand their obligations under New Jersey WARN, should a significant reduction in force be under consideration.
For Human Resources Assistance:
For more information on any of the above topics, or assistance with any employment-related matter, contact Nick Fiorenza, Association Counsel, Ferrara Fiorenza PC, (315) 437-7600, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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