I may have to layoff staff. Does California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act still apply?
Only parts of the California WARN Act apply. On March 17, the Governor issued an Executive Order suspending many aspects of the California WARN Act. The executive order suspends, starting March 4, 2020, Labor Code Sections 1402(a), 1402, and 1403 for an employer that orders a mass layoff, relocation, or termination at a covered establishment. Certain conditions apply:
- Gives the written notices specified in Labor Code Section 1402(a)–(b)
- Gives as much notice as is practicable, and, at the time notice is given, provides a brief statement of the basis for reducing the notification period
- Orders such a mass layoff, relocation, or termination that is caused by COVID-19-related “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would have been required”
- For written notice given after the date of the executive order, in addition to the other elements detailed in Labor Code Section 1401(b), such written notice must contain the following statement: “If you have lost your job or been laid off temporarily, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI). More information on UI and other resources available for workers is available at labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019.
And employers must still comply with federal WARN. CHA has developed FAQs for both laws.