COVID-19 Update: Temporary Reprieve from Cal-WARN for Employers

On March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom, in an uncharacteristic move to help employers, signed Executive Order N-31-20 suspending certain employers’ obligations pursuant to the California WARN Act (“Cal WARN Act”).

Unfamiliar with the Cal WARN Act? Well, the Cal WARN Act (short for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) is a regulation that, generally, requires certain employers to provide workers with at least sixty (60) days’ notice before a mass layoff, a plant closure, or a major relocation. Under the Cal WARN Act, even a furlough of at least fifteen employees for a week may trigger the acts sixty (60) days’ notice requirement!

However, as a result of COVID-19, and the required and immediate closure of many businesses, Governor Newsom suspended the sixty (60) day notice requirement of the Cal WARN ACT pursuant to the following requirements:

1) the employer still gives notice to the appropriate employees and entities;

2) the employer gives as much notice as is practical, and, at the time of notice, provides a brief statement explaining the reason for the reduced notification period;

3) the layoff, relocation, or termination is a result of COVID-19 and related “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would have been required”; and

4) the notice includes 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 for workers is available at labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019.”

If this seems complicated or unclear, not to worry, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is required to provide additional guidance on the implementation of the order by March 23, 2020.  Let’s hope they do!

Please know that the attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt are doing everything they can do be prepared to navigate the legal questions that are arising for you, your family and your business as a result of Covid-19.  If you would like to discuss if the Cal-WARN ACT and Executive Order N-31-20 apply to your business and how that may impact your policies or practices, please contact Employer lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.

The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.

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