On April 14, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a new amendment (“New Amendment”) to the New Jersey Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act, commonly referred to as the New Jersey WARN Act (“NJ WARN Act”), which was modified in January of this year, to among other things, require payment of severance to eligible employees who suffer a NJ WARN Act covered termination of employment and to require 90 days’ notice of such terminations (the “January Amendment,” which we discussed previously here).

The New Amendment, which was driven by the current COVID-19 national emergency, became effective immediately. Specifically it:

  • excludes from the definition of a covered “Mass Layoff,”  “a mass layoff made necessary because of a fire, flood, natural disaster, national emergency, act of war, civil disorder or industrial sabotage, decertification from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs”; and importantly
  • postpones the effective date of the January WARN Act amendments from July 17, 2020 to 90 days following the termination of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 103 declaring a New Jersey State of Emergency.

The New Amendment will have an immediate salutary effect upon employers by excluding otherwise covered layoffs undertaken because of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., a “national emergency”) and by delaying the effective date of the January Amendment’s provisions. It will continue to exempt the specifically excluded layoffs from the NJ WARN Act’s severance and other enhanced requirements after the prior amendments become effective.