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May 2, 2024

Virginia Layoff Laws: What You Need To Know in 2024

When it comes to layoffs in Virginia, both employers and employees must navigate a set of regulations designed to protect workers and provide timely notification of significant changes to employment status. Understanding Virginia's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is essential for businesses and workers alike to ensure compliance and preparation for layoffs. In this article, let us look at the layoff laws in Virginia including the coverage and requirements.

Does Virginia Have a WARN Act?

Yes, Virginia adheres to the federal WARN Act requirements, but it does not have a separate state-specific WARN Act. This means that businesses in Virginia must follow federal guidelines when conducting large-scale layoffs or plant closures.

What Is The Virginia WARN Act?

The Virginia WARN Act is essentially the federal WARN Act applied within the state. The Act requires employers to provide advance notice of mass layoffs, plant closures, or significant employment reductions. This advance notice gives workers time to prepare for the change in employment status and seek alternative job opportunities or training.

Who Is Covered by Virginia WARN?

The federal WARN Act, and by extension, Virginia's application of it, covers employers with 100 or more full-time employees. It applies to:

  • Plant closures affecting 50 or more employees at a single site.
  • Mass layoffs that affect 50 or more employees and at least 33% of the employer's workforce at a single site.
  • Mass layoffs involving 500 or more employees at a single site, regardless of the percentage of the workforce affected.

Notice Required by WARN in Virginia

Under the WARN Act, employers are required to provide a 60-day notice period before implementing a mass layoff or plant closure. This notice must be given to affected workers, their representatives (such as unions), the local Chief Elected Official, and the state's dislocated worker unit. This requirement ensures that all parties have sufficient time to adjust to the upcoming changes.

Virginia WARN Act Requirements

The specific requirements under the WARN Act in Virginia include:

  • Notifying employees in writing. The notification must include the expected date of the layoff, the expected duration, and the rights of the employees during the layoff period.
  • Providing notice to the Virginia Employment Commission, which allows the state to provide rapid response services and assistance to affected workers.
  • Ensuring that the notice contains all required information to comply with federal regulations.

Employers who fail to provide the required notice may be subject to penalties, including back pay for each day of violation and benefits under the company's health plan, among other liabilities.

For businesses operating in Virginia, understanding and adhering to these WARN Act requirements is crucial to ensure legal compliance and to minimize disruption for employees. As of 2024, these guidelines remain aligned with federal standards, underscoring the importance of thorough preparation and communication in the face of organizational changes.

* This is legal or tax advice.