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How New Jersey’s Mini-WARN Act Protects Workers Facing Downsizing

How New Jersey’s Mini-WARN Act Protects Workers Facing DownsizingMass layoffs can hit workers at even the largest companies, whether as the result of economic conditions or mismanagement or both. Downsizing is worse still when it takes workers by surprise, leaving them no time to prepare for finding new employment. Federal and state laws are in place to ease the transition for workers in these crisis situations. New Jersey has updated its version to provide enhanced protections — including wider availability of severance pay.

New Jersey’s law is based on the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The state’s “Mini-WARN Act” has just been revised to increase the notice requirements and the circumstances in which notice must be given and severance must be paid. The updated version, which went into effect on April 10, 2023, includes these provisions:

  • More notice — Employers with 100 or more full-time or part-time employees are now required to provide at least 90 days’ notice before conducting mass layoffs, ceasing operations or moving operations to another location. The previous law required only 60 days’ notice.
  • Wider definition of mass layoff — Any layoff of 50 or more employees in New Jersey is now considered a mass layoff, even at a massive company where 50 people is a small percentage of the workforce.
  • Expansion to part-time employees — The updated Mini-WARN Act says part-time employees count toward the 50-employee threshold. They are also entitled to receive the 90 days’ advance notice.

Perhaps the most tangible benefit for employees under the updated Mini-WARN Act is that employers must provide severance pay in all mass layoffs. Under the old law, severance was required only when an employer failed to comply with the 60 days’ advance notice. But now, a worker is entitled to one week of severance pay for each full year of employment. If an employer fails to provide at least 90 days’ notice before the mass layoff, each worker is entitled to an additional four weeks of severance pay.

The new law doesn’t apply to a company that has a severance policy providing more pay than the new law allows. The same is true if there is a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and employees that is more generous than the new law. Any laid off employee who believes their employer has failed to follow the new Mini-WARN Act severance rules has the right file a lawsuit to recover damages and attorneys’ fees.

At Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack, our attorneys advise and represent employees concerning their rights under the Mini-WARN Act. Please call 551-245-8894 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.

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Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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