Special Edition
Employer COVID-19 Preparedness Guide
March 18, 2020—UPDATE

California Governor Suspends Cal-WARN Notice Requirement

As the 2019 Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) crises continue to unfold, Ricketts Case remains committed to keeping our clients up to date.  This is a brief update to the e-alert sent earlier today.

Cal-WARN Notice Period Suspended

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that specifically addresses the notice period requirements set forth in the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (“Cal-WARN”) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Executive Order recognizes that because of the need to prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19, employers have had to close or reduce their workforces rapidly without providing the requisite advanced notice under California’s mini-WARN law.  As a result, beginning on March 4, 2020, the date the Governor proclaimed a State of Emergency, and lasting through the “end of this emergency,” the Executive Order suspends certain Cal-WARN notice requirements for employers that must order a mass layoff, relocation, or termination at a covered establishment.  Employers must still give as much notice as practicable and include in the notice a statement about the availability of Unemployment Insurance.  The Labor and Workforce Development Agency has been ordered to provide additional guidance about the implementation of this Executive Order by March 23, 2020.  Employers should continue to monitor the news for legal updates and consult with legal counsel for specific guidance on implementing a layoff or closing.

California Employment Development Department Offers Employers Hardship Extensions

We also want to make California employers aware that according to the California EDD website, employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest.  Additional information can be found here:  Outside California, employers may wish to consult legal counsel to determine whether a similar relaxation of rules exists in their state.

For further guidance about specific workplace issues, please contact one of our employment attorneys.

The contents of this newsletter are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.  You are advised to consult an attorney about any specific legal question.