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A bill opposed by NJBIA that places unfair conditions on the transfer of ownership of healthcare facilities in the state was passed by the full Senate today, 21-14. 

Bill S-315, which has yet to receive an Assembly committee vote, mandates that all non-managerial employers be maintained by the purchasing owner of the facility – unless a reduction in staff is needed. 

However, with that provision comes a requirement that the new owner hire back employees based on seniority under the previous owner, with no end date to offer that employment. 

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas said that current law always provides employee protection through collective bargaining. 

“This bill, however, changes the rules of the game and forces a new owner to accept workers employed under the seller, whether they’re unionized or at-will employees,” Buteas said. “The new owner also must accept wage and benefit terms negotiated by the former owner. 

“By requiring that future employee layoffs be based on a seniority system, you would be removing the necessary flexibility to maintain the best staff, ensuring that a business can prosper. No for profit or nonprofit business should be forced to accept those conditions on their management.” 

Buteas said the employer mandate would have serious unintended consequences for the healthcare industry, including the closure of facilities that would impact the marketplace.  

“Given the continued consolidation in the healthcare industry, this bill could also have a negative effect on the market, forcing certain facilities to close,” Buteas said. “This may be particularly problematic in our urban areas, where healthcare facilities have struggled to remain open.” 

Buteas also noted that the bill, if enacted, would particularly impact small businesses, as there is no employee threshold written in the bill. It would also remove needed confidentiality around the sale of a healthcare business. Bill