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Sweeney/Doria Measure Would Require Pre-Notification For Plant Closures

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Stephen M. Sweeney and Joseph V. Doria that would require employers to provide workers with pre-notification of certain plant closings and mass layoffs was approved today by the Senate Labor Committee.

“By providing advance notice of plant closings and layoffs, employers would allow workers more time to find other employment,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem, who Chairs the Senate Labor panel. “This is a measure to help recently laid off employees find employment sooner, rather than leaving them jobless all of a sudden. Employers should provide adequate notice – its the right thing to do.”

The Senators’ measure, S-2064, would require employers to notify the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD), local municipalities, employees and their representatives of plant closings or mass layoffs involving the permanent layoff of 50 or more employees, at least 90 days prior to the plant’s closure. Companies with 200 or more employees would be required to provide notice 180 days in advance of the plant’s closing.

“For many New Jerseyans, who work hard in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and still live paycheck to paycheck, the loss of a job can be catastrophic,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “For those who lose their jobs due in no part to their own fault, because their place of work was closed down by the employer, job loss can be completely unfair. We need to give employees the opportunity to find work where they can, so that they are not left in financial crisis when their job disappears at a moment’s notice.”

Companies found violating the bill’s provisions would be subject to fines of one week severance pay based on each employee’s years of service. The severance pay would equal 50% of the average regular pay rate for the past three years of service for each employee.

The measure would also establish a rapid response team through the DLWD to provide counseling and other services to workers that have been laid off. Employers would be required to provide access to the response team to their employees.

This measure now awaits a vote by the full Senate.