Post-pandemic economics and inflation have left many employment sectors struggling to rebound. For many employees, navigating these economic issues requires budgeting and cutting back on necessities. For many workers, these rough economic conditions may lead to layoffs. Some of the largest companies in the US have announced hiring freezes and workforce reductions to prepare for uncertainty in 2023. While it is true employers have the right to operate their company in the manner they see fit, there are issues where layoffs must adhere to legal regulations. While employees cannot demand to keep their jobs, California law does require employers to adhere to state legal guidelines when laying off employees. Even though California law regulates layoffs, it doesn’t guarantee employees a position within a company conducting layoffs. It also does not guarantee alternative employment.
What are WARN Act Requirements?
California's downsizing laws are modifications of the federal WARN Act. The goal of the law is to provide employees with consideration as they transition to unemployment. There are several considerations provided under the WARN Act; for example, employees are given advance notice of a pending layoff, and they are also provided damages in the form of severance.
The WARN Act applies to California Employers preparing for layoffs if:
More than 50 employees will be laid off within 30 days
A commercial or industrial workplace with 75 or more employees is scheduled for closure
A commercial or industrial workplace is scheduled to be relocated more than 100 miles away
Employees who fall within these WARN Act guidelines must be given at least a 60-day notice before the act can be approved. The WARN Act doesn’t apply to seasonal employees, union activities that caused relocation or closure, or natural disasters.