Q. We are relocating to another state. While several employees will not be given relocation packages, I do plan to give them severance packages. Is it legal to require them to stay to a certain date in order to receive the severance? — Jeff, Texas
A. Yes, as long as you don’t owe them at least 90 days’ notice of the close under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. WARN generally covers employers with at least 100 employees. If you can’t provide 90 days’ notice, pay in lieu of notice is acceptable, but it can’t be conditioned on the employees’ remaining through the termination date. You also have to provide notice to government officials. (Learn more about WARN at the Department of Labor's website.) Note that some states (not Texas) have state WARN laws that cover smaller businesses.
In addition, your workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are unable to find work when the business closes.