Jan 22, 2020

New Jersey law requires companies to pay severance during mass layoffs

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

New Jersey on Tuesday became the first state to require businesses and corporations to provide severance pay in the event of mass layoffs after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed new legislation, AP reports.

Why it matters: With the fall of numerous chain stores in recent years, the law seeks to protect people who are left unemployed with little notice. It comes after the closing of chain Toys "R" Us last year cost 2,000 people their jobs in the state.

  • How it works: Companies will have to pay employees a week's salary for each year of service when more than 50 employees are laid off. Businesses are now also required to give employees 90 days' notice before such an event, up from 60.

The other side: Critics of the law said it will negatively impact businesses as they simultaneously balance increasing minimum wages and higher taxes in the state.

  • Some critics also claimed the law made the state anticompetitive and warned that it would cause businesses to look elsewhere when setting up new headquarters.

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America's local economy keeps shrinking

Data: Yelp; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Growth slowed for local economies virtually everywhere in the U.S. last year, and is declining again at the start of this year as consumers pare back spending and business growth stalls.

What they're saying: So says business directory service Yelp, which used data from its more than 100 million users to track the number of businesses opening or closing and consumer demand.

Go deeperArrowJan 24, 2020

Trump administration threatens to cut California health care funding over abortion law

President Trump walks away after speaking at the 47th March For Life rally on the National Mall, Jan. 24, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday issued a "notice of violation" to California, threatening to cut the state's federal health care funding if it continues to require that insurance plans cover abortion.

The big picture: The Department of Health and Human Services said the requirement violates a law that bans the federal government from giving funding to states or other entities that discriminate against health care providers that object to providing abortions.

Go deeperArrowJan 24, 2020

All top law school journals are led by women for the first time in history

Grace Paras (left) was the editor in chief of the Georgetown Law Journal and Toni Deane (right) is the first African American to lead the publication. Photo: Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The editors in chief of law journals at the top 16 law schools in the U.S. are women for the first time in history, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: At an event honoring the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote that brought all of the editors together, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, "It's such a contrast to the ancient days when I was in law school. There really is no better time for women to enter the legal profession."