New law would require New Jersey hotels to continue employing workers

(The Center Square) – Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a measure requiring new hotel owners to keep workers on the payroll for at least 90 days following a sale, a requirement that a leading business group says should concern all businesses.

Under A-6246/S-4295, new hotel owners must retain workers employed by the previous owner without reducing their wages or benefits for 90 days. Murphy, a Democrat, signed the legislation into law on Tuesday.

“Anyone who owns a private business and who one day envisions selling it should be alarmed by this law, as it essentially allows government to dictate employment conditions on those transactions,” New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) President and CEO Michele Siekerka said in a statement.

After 90 days, hoteliers must evaluate workers’ performance and continue to offer employment if their performance is satisfactory. While new owners can eliminate workers, they must retain employees based on seniority and experience and rehire laid-off employees if positions are restored.

“It should not be the place of government to dictate levels of employment and previously negotiated wages and benefits,” Siekerka said. “It should not be the role of government to limit managerial discretion of a private business, which could actually impact the value of a property.

“The troubled hospitality industry is the immediate victim of this action,” Siekerka added. “But it’s only a matter of time before legislative efforts are made to make other industries fall prey to this intrusive mandate, which further solidifies New Jersey’s reputation as having the worst business climate in the country.”

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