Guidance is now available from the Labor & Workforce Development Agency on Governor Gavin Newsom’s temporary suspension of certain employer obligations under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (Cal-WARN Act) if employers need to close or downsize suddenly due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. As we previously reported, the governor directed the Labor & Workforce Development Agency to provide guidance on how the order will be implemented. That guidance was released on the Labor Commissioner’s website dated March 23, 2020, in a Q&A format addressing the most common questions from employers about the suspension.
The guidance reinforces what we previously reported, but provides some additional clarification in certain areas, including what conditions an employer must satisfy to qualify for the suspension and who needs to be notified (i.e., employees, any union(s) representing them (if applicable), the Employment Development Department (EDD), the Local Workforce Development Board, and chief elected officials). Of particular note is the question of what an employer should do if a closure occurred before the governor’s order was issued on March 17, 2020. The Labor Commissioner’s guidance states that between March 4, 2020 (the start of the state of emergency in California) and March 17, 2020 (the date the executive order was issued), employers should have been providing notice, because the suspension hadn’t yet occurred.
Tips: Employers should review the governor’s order, the Labor Commissioner’s guidance, and Vigilant’s Legal Guide, WARN Act: Mass Layoff or Plant Closure for a better understanding of the requirements. Keep in mind that the governor’s order merely reduces the usual 60-day notice period to “as much notice as is practicable,” but doesn’t eliminate the notice requirement. Please contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with questions.