On January 10, 2023, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law amending the New Jersey WARN Act, effective April 10, 2023. The amendments in question were initially approved in 2020 but their implementation was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing state of emergency. Lawmakers have decided that the ongoing state of emergency caused by COVID should no longer prevent the implementation of these amendments.
The Amendments change the law as follows:
• Most significantly, workers covered by the Act will be entitled to severance pay equal to one week of pay for every year of service. They will be entitled to an additional four weeks of severance pay when their employer fails to provide the notice required under the Act.
• The law continues to apply to those affected by mass layoffs or complete terminations of operations. The trigger requirement for mass layoffs will be reduced to any layoff of 50 or more employees.
• Coverage will be expanded by recognizing layoffs beyond a single place of employment. It will now apply to a single employer even if they are laying off workers from multiple worksites.
• The law covers all employers with 100 or more employees but will now include part-time employees in that amount. Employees who work in other states for the same employer can be counted to reach this total.
• Lengthens the notice period employers are required to give employees from 60 to 90 days.
• Employees are now prohibited from waiving their rights to severance without obtaining approval from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development or a court.