October 30, 2023
New Law Mandates Job Protection For Service EmployeesWritten by: Mel Edgar
Is your association switching landscaping, maintenance or another service provider? Even for small teams, workers may be entitled to two months of employment with the ‘successor employer’ under your next contract.
On July 24, 2023, Governor Murphy signed a bill into law (A-4682/S-2389) that mandates retention of certain service employees in the State of New Jersey and increases the obligations of community associations engaged in vendor contracting or who employ certain service workers. Associations should be mindful of this law when changing vendors, shifting between contracting for services versus directly employing workers, as well as transitioning between seasonal contracts, if any of these changes involve landscaping, building supervision, maintenance, or security, among other services. The new law went into effect on October 22, 2023 and authorizes courts to impose civil penalties including fines in the amount of $2,500 for a first violation and $5,000 thereafter for any week in which there is a subsequent violation. Additionally, the legislation sets forth several forms of relief for covered employees.
While the bill was introduced with the purpose of establishing “employment protections for certain service employees during changes of ownership,” the new law impacts community associations who act as an “awarding authority” of certain service contracts. The law extends protections to employees who work more than sixteen (16) hours per week at a covered location, including multi-family residential buildings with more than fifty (50) units, in connection with the care or maintenance of a building or property. Under the new law, if an association contracts with a new or “successor employer” to provide services substantially similar to those provided in the preceding ninety (90) days by a covered entity or by individuals employed by the association, then the successor employer is required to retain affected service employees for sixty (60) days or, if earlier, until the termination of the new service contract.
Whenever there is a change in vendors for relevant services, community associations must adhere to affirmative obligations under the new law. Not less than fifteen (15) days before terminating any service contract, awarding authorities are required to act as intermediaries and must request and forward information as follows:
“(1) request the terminated contractor to give the successor employer a list containing the name, date of hire, and job classification of each service employee working on the service contract and name and contact information of the employee's collective bargaining representative, if any;
(2) give the successor employer a list containing the name, date of hire, job classification of each service employee currently performing the work to be performed pursuant to the service contract and name and contact information of the employee's collective bargaining representative, if any;
(3) provide written notice to any collective bargaining representative of the affected service employees of the decision to terminate the service contract, enter into a new service contract, or sell or transfer the property;
(4) ensure that a written notice to all affected service employees describing the pending termination of the service contract, entrance into a service contract, or sale or transfer of the property, including the name and address of the awardee, purchaser, or transferee, and the employees' rights provided by this section, are conspicuously posted at any affected work site; and
(5) provide the affected service employees and their collective bargaining representative with the name and address of any successor employer or the purchaser or transferee of the property.”
Notable exceptions under the law include a provision for successor employers who agree to assume and to be bound by the collective bargaining agreement of the awarding authority or contractor, as well as a carveout for the performance of work on “any building, structural, electric, HVAC, or plumbing project, if the work requires a permit to be issued by a municipal building or construction department.”
If you have questions about how this new law (or any other law) affects your community association, we invite you to contact any of the lawyers in the Community Associations Practice Group of Hill Wallack LLP.