(The Center Square) – The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee advanced legislation that requires new hotel owners to continue to employ workers for at least 90 days without reducing their wages or benefits.
Under A-6246, the former hotel employer must provide the successor with a list of employees’ identities, wage rates and classifications. They must also notify employees of their rights under the bill.
“While it is admirable to want to protect every employee when a business changes ownership, collective bargaining and the WARN Act already provides such protections,” New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor said in a news release. “This bill, however, changes the rules of the game and forces a new hotel owner to accept the employees and wage and benefit terms negotiated by the former owner.
“Such a legislative mandate can have serious consequences for a hospitality industry that is still struggling with the impacts of the ongoing pandemic. It is unfair and economically harmful to impose onerous conditions on a struggling industry. A business needs to be able to take appropriate actions to ensure profitability.”
Under the proposal, successor employers cannot terminate employees during the retention period. However, they can eliminate workers, but they must retain employees based on seniority and experience and offer to rehire laid-off employees if positions are restored.
Following the retention period, employers must evaluate retained employees’ performance and offer continued employment if the employee’s performance is satisfactory.
“It is not for a lawmaker to set up a seniority system for employee retention of a private business,” Cantor said. “We also worry about what is next. If the Legislature can mandate the continuation of collective bargaining agreements in the hotel industry, it is only a matter of time until other industries fall prey to this illegal and intrusive mandate.”