Employers in Texas need to learn about the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, and how it applies to employees in the state. While some states have their own state-specific versions of the WARN Act that provide additional protections to employees, Texas does not have one of these laws. Accordingly, employers need to be familiar with the federal WARN Act and any notifications they must provide under federal law to employees prior to a layoff or a plant closing.
If you run a business with fewer than 100 employees, the notice requirements for mass layoffs or plant closures likely will not be applicable to your company. However, it is always important to seek advice from a Texas employment law attorney about your obligations as an employer under the WARN Act to ensure that you remain in compliance with federal law. The following information helps to clarify employment notification obligations under the WARN Act.
WARN Act Coverage
Businesses that employ fewer than 100 full-time employees, or fewer than 100 employees (mix of full-time and part-time, or all part-time) who collectively work fewer than 4,000 hours per week, are not required to comply with the federal WARN Act. In other words, if you run a small company and have fewer than 100 employees, the WARN Act likely will not apply to you, but you should confirm your responsibilities with a Texas employment lawyer.
What is a Mass Layoff or Plant Closure?
If you are a covered employer, you must provide notice to employees in the event of a mass layoff or a plant closure as those terms are defined by federal law.
The WARN Act defines a mass layoff as a reduction in employees that results either in job loss for 500 or more full-time employees, or 33% of your active workforce if you are laying off between 50 and 499 full-time employees. The Act defines a plant closure as the closure of an employment site, or the closure of one of the employer’s operating units or facilities within an employment site, that results in job losses for 50 or more full-time employees during a 30-day period.
Notice Requirements for a Mass Layoff or Plant Closure
If you are planning a mass layoff or a plant closure as either is defined by the WARN Act, it is critical to understand that federal law does not prevent you from laying off employees or closing a job site, but it does require you to give your employees notice.
Generally speaking, employees who will be affected by a mass layoff or plant closure must be given at least 60 days of advance notice under the WARN Act. For unionized employees, the employer must give at least 60 days of advance notice to the union representative. In both situations, the employer must also provide information about the timetable for the layoff or closure, along with other information.
Seek Advice from Our Texas Employment Attorneys
If you are planning what you believe to be a mass layoff or a plant closure, or if you are planning layoffs or closures more generally, you should speak with a Dallas employment law attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you remain in compliance with the WARN Act. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC for advice today.