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February 8, 2019

In the past year, thousands of New Jersey workers lost their jobs when Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears stores closed. A bill approved Thursday by the state Senate Commerce committee seeks to soften the blow of such mass layoffs, in part by lengthening the warning large employers must give threatened workers, from 60 days to 90. The bill would also mandate severance pay when 50 or more workers are laid off by a company.

“We want businesses to come to New Jersey. We want businesses to stay in New Jersey. We also need to make sure that they are working together and protecting the rights of their employees,” said Sen. Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), who along with Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union), sponsored what’s being called the “Toys ‘R’ Us” bill.

As lawmakers talked about ways to better protect workers, some employees shared stories of their layoffs at a press conference in Trenton. “I got eight weeks of severance after 35 years of dedicated service,” said former Sears employee Bruce Miller. “Within two weeks of my severance running out I lost the house that I had owned since 1995 when it was foreclosed on by the bank.”

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