N. J. is the first state to pass laws that guarantee severance pay after mass layoffs

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In Monday, the New Jersey legislature gave final approval to a bill that would make it the first state in the country to guarantee severance pay in the wake of mass layoffs. The bill ensures that workers at big companies have to be paid at least a week’s wages for every year of work. It now sits on the desk of Governor Phil Murphy, who has 30 days to sign or veto it; advocates say the governor has expressed support for it.

The bill is a response to a series of bankruptcies among major employers in the state over the past two years. When Toys “R” Us went bankrupt in 2017, the company had 1,500 employees in New Jersey.  Without this new law in place, it was perfectly legal to refuse to give longtime workers any financial cushion in the wake of sudden job loss.  When Sears went bankrupt in 2018, its management similarly told employees they wouldn’t get severance pay, either. Workers pressured Eddie Lampert, whose hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., bought the company in 2005, to agree to pay them up to $43 million, although he later tried to back out of the deal during the bankruptcy process.

It was in the wake of those liquidations, at a rally of laid-off Toys “R” Us employees, that New Jersey State Senator Joseph Cryan got “engaged on the issue,” he said. He starting working on the legislation, supported by Toys “R” Us and Sears workers. “Candidly, I’m just tired of the little guy getting screwed,” Cryan said.

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Article submitted by, Great Gazoo.