NEW JERSEY STATE LEGISLATURE APPROVES NATION’S FIRST GUARANTEED SEVERANCE PAY BILL
Bill now advances to Governor Murphy with 30 day-deadline for approval
Trenton, NJ — The historic Guaranteed Severance Pay Bill (S3170 & A5145) now heads to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk after receiving the majority votes needed to advance from both the State Assembly and Senate. If signed by the governor, New Jersey will become the first state in the country to mandate that employers provide one week of severance pay for each year of service for their workers when more than 50 employees are laid off. Currently, no other state in the country holds employers accountable in this way.
Prompted by the wave of corporate bankruptcies in New Jersey and across the country in 2018 and 2019, activists with Make the Road New Jersey and former and current Sears, Payless, and Toys ‘R’ Us employees who received little to no severance pay from their employer, organized with United for Respect and are holding Wall Street billionaires accountable for their recklessness and greed that left thousands of families in economic crisis while CEOs and private equity firms received million-dollar bonuses. They’ve worked with Senator Cryan’s office over the last year and a half and educated legislators about this critical issue.
Working people who have fought for this bill are celebrating this landmark legislation.
“Today’s bill passage in the New Jersey State legislature gives working families across New Jersey hope that when a recession hits and our employers collapse or file for bankruptcy, we are not left without anything to survive,” said Cesar de la Peña, a leader with Make the Road New Jersey. “With Gov. Murphy’s signature, this law will set the severance pay standard for the rest of the country. We are grateful to Senator Cryan and Asw Quijano for their leadership. No working family should get left behind when their employer collapses. We deserve the respect of severance pay to keep our families afloat as we transition. Today, we are one step closer to this goal.”
“Working people are the backbone of our economy and I’m proud to stand on the right side of history with them,” said Senator Joe Cryan (LD20). “The store closures prompted by Wall Street’s get-rich-quick tactics pushed thousands of New Jerseyans into financial crisis, and many are still struggling today. While we always want our economy to thrive, we want to protect the workers who keep it churning no matter what happens. That is why, at the very least, working families need to be able to count on severance pay to get back on their feet.”
“When I lost my job at Sears, I vowed to hold Wall Street accountable and make sure working people like me didn’t have to live the same awful experience I did,” said Bruce Miller, a United for Respect leader and former Sears employee. “When my store closed down I lost my career, my financial security, and I was left feeling unappreciated for all of the years I helped the company profit. Wall Street is recklessly saddling retailers with debt, running them to the ground, and fleeing with millions of dollars in their pocket while working people like me are left with nothing. I applaud New Jersey for stepping in where Wall Street and corporate CEOs are failing. Our elected officials are putting working families first.”
In an op-ed in The Star-Ledger/NJ.com here, Bruce shares the adversities he faced when Eddie Lampert drove Sears to the ground.
Governor Murphy has 30 days to sign the Guaranteed Severance Pay Bill into law.
Link to fact sheet on NJ Guaranteed Severance Pay Bill here.