Complying With WARN Act Requirements During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, major retail chains, manufacturers, hospitality providers and other employers have been reducing hours/pay or closing employment sites. For many employers, these layoffs are expected to be temporary while the virus runs its course, but economic challenges could turn short-term layoffs into events that trigger notice obligations under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act or state “mini-WARN” Acts. This article answers employers’ common wage and hour and WARN Act questions caused by the coronavirus.

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NLRB Tightens Standard for Joint Employer Status

A business is a joint employer of another employer’s employees only if the two employers share or codetermine the employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment, according to a recently unveiled and long-awaited final rule from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that will take effect on April 27, 2020. By tightening the legal test the NLRB uses to determine whether workers are jointly employed by affiliate businesses, including franchisors and franchisees, the rule provides welcomed clarity for franchisors, and will allow them to provide more operational support and guidance to franchisees.

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