Proposed bill would provide more severance during mass layoffs

State legislators are working on a law that would help protect employees of large New Jersey companies if they are ever laid off en masse.
The bill is in response to the way former employees of Toys R Us were treated when the company went out of business.
Bruce Miller says that he worked at Sears for nearly 40 years before he was laid off.
“I got eight weeks of severance,” he says. “Being there for 36 years.”
Feeling the amount of severance he received was unjust, Miller joined state lawmakers and other laid-off workers Thursday to announce plans for the bill.
If passed, the law would require employers to give 90 days of notice for a mass lay off instead of the current 60 days of notice. The law would also require one week of severance for each year of employment.
“I’m actually slated to get probably half of what I was owed in the hardship fund,” says Joseph Ryan who worked at Babies R Us for 13 years before being let go.
When Toys R Us went out of business more than 30,000 workers lost their jobs. They did not receive a severance until a special compensation fund was set up late last year.
But some business groups say that the law would be bad for the state. The New Jersey Business and Industry Association says that it this will deter companies from even considering a location in New Jersey.
The bill applies to companies with at least 100 employees and for a layoff of 50 workers or more.