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The Strict Requirements of the NJ WARN Act

By Tom McKinney
NJ Employment Attorney

The WARN Act was signed by Governor Murphy on January 11, 2023. It’s crucial that New Jersey employers and employees understand this bill, as it contains strict requirements that employers must adhere to.

What is the NJ WARN Act?

The NJ WARN Act is modeled after the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988. This labor law requires employers to provide at least 60 days’ notice to their workforce before initiating mass layoffs. The NJ WARN Act imposes even stricter requirements on employers operating in the state.

What is included in the NJ WARN Act?

The NJ WARN Act was recently amended to apply to all employers with 100 or more full-time or part-time employees. Previously, the law applied only to employers with 100 or more full-time employees. 

If you are an employer or employee in New Jersey, you would do well to familiarize yourself with the law’s provisions.

Part-Time Employees

As of April 10, 2023, part-time employees are now counted toward the 100-employee threshold that requires employers to comply with the law. They also count toward the 50-employee reduction threshold, which is described below. These changes will fundamentally impact the operations of many businesses that employ workers in New Jersey.

Additional Notice Requirements

The previous NJ WARN Act required covered employers to provide at least 60 days’ notice before mass layoffs and terminations or transfers of operations. As of April 10, 2023, businesses with 100 or more nationwide employees must give at least 90 days’ notice to their employees in New Jersey.

If an employer does not comply with these provisions, it is liable for an additional four weeks of severance pay for each New Jersey employee affected by its noncompliance.

Changes to “Establishment”

The previous provisions of the WARN Act defined “establishment” as “a single location or a group of contiguous locations, including groups of facilities which form an office or industrial park or separate facilities just across the street from each other.” The updated statute expands this definition to any facility located in the state of New Jersey.

This provision affects employers with employees in New Jersey that have multiple locations in the state. These companies must consider all of these employees in order to fully comply with the updated provisions.

Mandatory Severance

The previous provisions of the WARN Act stated that employers with 100 or more employees were required to pay severance to their New Jersey employees affected by mass layoffs and transfers or terminations of operations. 

Now, the law also requires employers to provide “severance pay equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment” to all New Jersey employees affected by mass layoffs and transfers or terminations of operations. This applies whether proper notice was provided or not.

Threshold Reductions

Previously, the WARN Act defined a “mass layoff” as the removal of 500 or more employees from a business (or 50 or more employees, provided they represent at least 33% of the total workforce). As of April 10, 2023, employers must comply with the WARN Act if it affects 50 employees, regardless of the percentage they comprise.

Contact NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC

The updated NJ WARN Act contains strict provisions. If you are having trouble with compliance or are working for a company that has violated the act, contact NJ Employment Lawyers as soon as possible.

NJ Employment Lawyers specializes in employment law throughout the state of New Jersey. Our team has a keen understanding of the nuances governing New Jersey employment laws and shares a passion for helping people just like you.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is a skilled employment law attorney with New Jersey Employment Lawyers LLC. He has a track record of success in all areas of employment law, including sexual harassment, discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, whistleblower claims and hostile work environment claims. Besides litigation, Tom handles severance agreements and severance package reviews/negotiations for over 100 people each year. If you have any questions regarding this blog, contact Tom here.