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How Has California’s WARN Act Been Affected By The COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Due to the COVID-19, there have been many business owners who do not have enough work for their employees. As a result, there have been mass layoffs all over the country with little to no warning.

Ordinarily, this would not be allowed, but given the State of Emergency, we are currently in, the strict compliance with various statutes and regulations cannot be enforced to prevent and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the State of Emergency, look to Executive Order N-31-20.

What is the WARN Act?

WARN stands for the “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification.” WARN protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring that employees give a 60-day notice to the affected employees and both state and local representatives prior to a plant closing or mass layoff.

A “mass layoff” means a layoff during any 30-day period of 50 or more employees at a covered establishment. This notice gives people enough time to plan ahead and transition to a new job as not to be affected by the layoff.

Who is covered by the California WARN Act?

The California WARN act applies to “covered establishment” that employs or has employed in the preceding 12 months, 75 or more full and part-time employees. Employees must have been employed for at least 6 months of the 12 months preceding the date of required notice in order to be counted.

What happens if you fail to give notice under the California WARN Act?

Failure to give the required 60-day notice will be required to pay back pay for a period of the employer’s violation, up to a maximum of 60 days, or one-half the number of days that the employee was employed by there employer, whichever is smaller.

How has COVID-19 affected by Executive Order N-31-20?

Executive Order N-31-20 has temporarily suspended the 60-day notice requirement in the WARN act as of March 4, 2020. Instead, businesses are required to give as much notice as practicable and provide a brief statement for the reason for reducing the notice period. The reason for the layoffs must have been COVID-19-related “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would have been required.”

In addition to this, businesses must include this 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.”

Executive Order N-31-20 will be in effect until further notice is given.

Contact Us Today

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many different industries and employees during this time. If you are in need of an employment law attorney, call Chung & Ignacio, LLP at (909) 726-7112 or fill out the contact form on our site.