During a downsizing, employers have a legal obligation to inform their workers and the government of such action under certain circumstances. California employers must follow two sets of rules: the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and the state’s own tougher standard.
The California EDD (www.edd.ca.gov/) administers the state law.
While the federal WARN Act covers employers with 100 or more employees, the state law applies to employers that have 75 or more employees who’ve worked six out of the last 12 months.
If you plan to lay off or relocate 50 or more workers, you must notify the affected workers and the local Workforce Investment Board 60 days in advance. (The state law defines “relocation” as moving a facility more than 100 miles.)
Caution: Beware of the stiff penalties for noncompliance. Employers that violate the state law are subject to a civil penalty of $500 per day, plus they must pay workers for those days at the higher of their final rate of pay or their average pay for the last three years. In addition, violators are liable for their employees’ medical expenses for the lesser of 60 days or half the time they were employed.
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