On April 14, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy signed S-2353/A-3938, a bill that substantially changes the New Jersey Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Until yesterday, the law handled “plant closures” and “mass layoffs” differently: Plant closures caused by “national emergencies” were excluded from coverage by the Act, while mass layoffs were not. The new amendment applies the same national emergency exception to mass layoffs. So, as of yesterday, a mass layoff occurring because of the COVID-19 national emergency is no longer a triggering event under the New Jersey WARN Act.
Yesterday’s amendment also effectively delays the implementation of sweeping changes to the New Jersey WARN Act that were passed at the end of 2019 and scheduled to take effect on July 19, 2020. Those changes, which greatly expanded WARN Act coverage and added a new severance provision, will not become effective until 90 days after Gov. Murphy lifts the current stay-at-home order.