New York Expands WARN Act Notice Requirements

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 13, 2020

Effective immediately, New York employers must provide advance written notice to additional government entities of a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act)-triggering event, such as a mass layoff, plant closing or relocation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to New York's mini-WARN law on November 11, expanding the law's notice requirements.

Under New York law previously, an employer could not order a mass layoff, relocation or employment loss without giving at least 90 days' written notice to the following parties:

  • Affected employees;
  • Any unions representing affected employees; and
  • Local Workforce Investment Boards.

The amendment expands the list of required recipients to also include:

  • The chief elected official of the unit or units of local government and the school districts in which the mass layoff, relocation or employment loss will occur; and
  • Each locality that provides police, firefighting, emergency medical or ambulance services to the site subject to the WARN-triggering event.

The New York WARN Act applies to private employers with 50 or more employees (excluding part-time employees) or 50 or more employees (including part-time employees) who work a combined total of at least 2,000 hours per week. In contrast, the federal WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more full-time employees to provide 60 days' notice of a mass layoff or plant closing.

The motivation behind this amendment was to ensure that employers also notify nearby communities that may rely on tax revenue from the business, and may face health and safety maintenance issues in the case of a property being abandoned.

Covered New York state employers that are considering a mass layoff, plant closing or relocation will need to comply with the added notice requirements.