Changes to California’s WARN Act and the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Changes to California’s WARN Act and the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-31-20 that suspended the 60-day notice requirement of California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act where a covered employer orders a mass layoff, relocation or termination of employees at a covered establishment. The Executive Order adopts the “unforeseeable business circumstances” defense for the COVID-19 emergency and is available when a covered employer follows the four requirements set forth in the Order.

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which requires covered employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work due to specified coronavirus-related conditions, and expands certain protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act to all employers employing 500 or less employees. Employers will receive tax credits reimbursing them for the amounts paid to their employees under this emergency legislation. Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where he or she is unable to work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, or up to 80 hours of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine or to care for a child under 18 whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition. Employees may also be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because he or she must care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.