Governor suspends 60-day notice requirement in Cal-WARN

An update to our blog post from March 17.

We reported on Tuesday that coronavirus-related layoffs might be covered by California's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. 

After our post was published, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an Executive Order suspending the 60-day notice requirements of Cal-WARN beginning March 4 and continuing until the end of the emergency.

However, the Governor’s order is not a complete reprieve and requires careful adherence to its terms for any temporary or permanent layoffs related to COVID-19, or the cessation of commercial operations:

  • Notices under Labor Code Sections 1401(a)-(b), which requires written announcements to the employees of the affected covered establishment, the state Employment Development Department, and other government agencies and chief elected officials of city and county government, are still required as soon as practicable.
  • The requirement in Cal-WARN that notices comply with the elements set forth in the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act is still in effect.
  • Any such notice now needs to include a brief statement of the basis for reducing the notification period and for the mass layoff, relocation, or termination.
  • The layoff must have been for “COVID-19 related business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would have been required.“
  • Any written notice of layoff given after the date of the Executive Order (March 17) must contain the following language: “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.”

The state Labor and Workforce Development Agency is directed to provide additional guidance by Monday, March 23.

California employment laws keep employers up at night, wondering what is coming next. There always seems to be something. From new statutes to new regulations to new court decisions, we will keep you up to date on developments in the areas of wage and hour, discrimination, leaves of absence, retaliation, class actions, PAGA, and arbitration. We’ll also provide you with practical information on how to update your policies and employment practices. Please subscribe to keep current.

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