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Federal and New York State WARN Act(s) provide protections for laid-off and relocated workers

Employees imageNo one wants to hear that they have been laid off or that their job is relocating somewhere else. However, the federal government and New York State provide some protections for employees going through this stressful experience.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires that employers give notice to employees in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs. Further, under the New York State WARN Act, certain relocations trigger advance notice requirements as well.

Under the federal WARN Act, employers must provide notice 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff if they have 100 or more employees (not counting employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months and not counting part-time employees). A plant closing is defined as a shutdown of an employment site that will result in termination, layoff exceeding 6 months, or a reduction in hours of more than 50% in each month for 6 months, for 50 or more employees. Employers are required to notify all employees, regardless of whether they are salaried or hourly.

Under the New York State WARN Act, employers must provide notice 90 days in advance of a plant closing, mass layoff, relocation, or other covered reduction in work hours if they have 50 or more full-time employees in New York State. A closing or mass layoff affecting 25 or more employees triggers the notice requirements. Additionally, employers are required to provide notice 90 days in advance for employees to be relocated more than 50 miles (still subject to the requirement that there be 25 or more affected employees).

Further, when one company buys another, under both WARN Acts, the advance notice requirement applies. Even in situations where the new employer offers employees a new position or the opportunity to apply to a new position, the advance notice requirement could apply.

If you are an employee affected by a company sale, plant closing, mass layoff, or relocation, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. if you have any questions regarding your rights under the federal and New York State WARN Act.


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