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(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan and Assemblymen Wayne P. DeAngelo and Nelson T. Albano sponsored after the Charlie Brown’s restaurant chain went bankrupt and suddenly left 1,900 New Jersey workers unemployed overnight without notice was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3583) revises state law to require franchisors or holding companies to provide 60 days notice of closing and mass layoffs. State law currently only requires single establishments to give such notice.
“Nearly 2,000 New Jerseyans found themselves thrown out-of-work when Charlie Brown’s closed through no fault of their own, leaving them suddenly scrambling for ways to make ends meet, keep their homes, pay their bills and feed their families,” said Cryan (D-Union). “It’s only fair for companies like this to provide the same notice as everyone else when disrupting lives through mass layoffs.”
“The Legislature has been pushing hard to create jobs and improve our business climate, but employees have rights, too, especially when dealing with large franchisors who see fit to close without notice,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This bill only aims to ensure that workers at facilities such as this receive the equal and fair protection that they deserve. Companies just don’t close their doors overnight, and providing notice to workers is the decent thing to do.”
Albano sponsored the initial law in 2007 after the closing of the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant.
“This is a reasonable protection for all hard-working New Jerseyans and their families,” said Albano (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “No one deserves to be shoved out the door in this or any economy without the fairness of advanced notice. This bill is quite simply the right thing to do for working class New Jerseyans.”
The bill would not alter the requirement in existing state law that the employer who conducts the mass layoff provide each full-time terminated employee with severance pay equal to one week of pay for each full year of employment.
The rate of severance pay shall be the average regular rate of compensation received during the employee’s last three years of employment with the employer or the final regular rate of compensation paid to the employee, whichever rate is higher.
The bill was released 5-2-1 by the Assembly Labor Committee.