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Employees in New York will be entitled to more advance notice of mass layoffs and plant closings, under a new law signed by Governor David A. Paterson and announced Tuesday by the state's Labor Commissioner.
Under New York's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, companies with 50 or more workers must notify employees and the state's Department of Labor at least 90 days before a mass layoff or plant closing. The new standards for New York go further than layoff notice requirements under the federal WARN law, which applies only to companies with 100 or more workers, and mandates 60 days notice before a layoff or closing. "The need for a stringent law at the state level comes on the heels of a number of companies that closed their doors in recent years and gave their workers little or no prior notification," according to a Press Release from the New York State Department of Labor. Companies that fail to provide required notice of layoffs may need to pay as much as $500 for each day inside the 90-day notice window, and may be ordered to provide back wages and medical benefits to workers who didn't receive proper notice.
The Albany Times Union reports that New York now joins California, Illinois, and New Jersey as states with WARN legislation that is tougher than federal standards.