Plans are underway to launch the new Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act Portal – the latest milestone in the New York State Department of Labor’s multi-year technology modernization plan. This upgraded online tool will give businesses the ability to file a notice of layoffs in a faster, more streamlined manner and will provide workers more time to transition into new employment. The new system will also help NYSDOL assist laid-off employees faster, connecting them to support services and resources including new employment and training opportunities. Governor Kathy Hochul also announced changes to the State’s WARN Act regulations to address the post-pandemic employment climate and help to ensure compliance with the New York State WARN Act.
“This new WARN Act portal and improvements to WARN Act regulations are critically necessary measures to reduce the administrative burden for businesses while providing New Yorkers in need with comprehensive support,” Governor Hochul said. “By upgrading systems and regulations at the Department of Labor, my administration is embracing 21st-century measures to simplify and streamline processes, enhance customer service, and better connect New York job seekers with fulfilling work opportunities.”
The enhanced WARN Act portal will allow employers to submit documentation, provide lists of impacted workers, and send other important information directly to NYSDOL in real-time. The upgrades are designed to assist employers in giving affected employees more time to transition, seek new employment opportunities, or enter workforce training programs to find new careers. Once a WARN Act notice is submitted, NYSDOL’s Division of Workforce and Employment Solutions works with local workforce development boards, community stakeholders, and businesses to rapidly connect impacted workers to new careers and job opportunities. The portal is expected to go live next month.
The New York State WARN Act requires private sector employers with 50 or more full-time employees to issue a WARN Act notice 90 days before closings, mass layoffs, and other relocations and covered reductions in work hours.
During the pandemic, NYSDOL received an unprecedented number of WARN Act notice filings, increasing from 430 filings impacting 27,858 workers in 2019 to 2,170 filings impacting 240,001 workers in 2020.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Improving user experience is a top priority to the Department, and embracing technological solutions is helping us fulfill that mission. These latest improvements will help employers give workers a heads-up about closures and layoffs. Early warnings help shorten the time that employees are collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits and therefore reduce employer liability associated with layoffs. We want to ensure that every impacted employee has every advantage possible to swiftly secure new careers.”
The newly strengthened regulations clarify how remote work impacts WARN Act compliance and simplify language to ensure businesses better understand their obligations. The comment period on the proposed regulations is now open, and New Yorkers are invited to share feedback by emailing [email protected].