COVID-19 Layoffs Excluded from NJ WARN Act; Effective Date of Pending Amendments Delayed
On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed legislation intended to alleviate potentially harsh consequences of the NJ WARN Act related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The bill, which amends the NJ WARN Act retroactively to March 9, 2020 will exclude from the definition of “mass layoff,” any layoffs due to a “national emergency.” As a result, mass layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic do not trigger the notice requirements of the NJ WARN Act.
Amendments to NJ WARN enacted in January 2020, and originally scheduled to take effect on July 19, 2020, require severance payments to employees equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment. Additionally, if an employer fails to provide 90 days’ notice it, it would be required to pay the discharged employees “an additional four weeks of pay.” The new legislation signed this week extends the effective date of these provision until 90 days after the Governor’s stay-at-home Executive Order expires.