On March 15, 2007, the New Jersey Senate passed a plant-closing bill (A-1044) which now heads to the desk of Governor Jon Corzine. The bill, which its sponsors say will combat “take-the-money-and-run” plant closings by major corporate employers in the state, would require all New Jersey employers with 100 or more employees to give 90 days’ notice before initiating a termination or transfer of operations or a mass layoff.
By comparison, the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) requires 60 days’ advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff.
Notice under the New Jersey bill would need to be provided to the state Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, the local municipality, the employees, and any union representatives. Such notice would trigger action by a response team which would provide appropriate information, referral and counseling, as rapidly as possible, to affected workers.
The bill contains punitive measures for noncompliance. Companies failing to abide by the notice requirements would have to pay terminated fulltime employees one week of severance pay for each full year of employment with the company, in addition to any severance provided by the company for other reasons (e.g., pursuant to a labor contract). Governor Corzine may sign the bill, veto it or modify it in the form of a conditional veto. If the bill is signed into law, Vedder Price will prepare a newsletter for our New Jersey readers describing the requirements in more detail. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about A-1044 or the WARN Act, please contact Charles Caranicas (212-407-7712) or any other Vedder Price attorney with whom you have worked.