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North Carolina WARN Act & NC WARN Notices Explained

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5 min read
north carolina warn act notice

The North Carolina Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is vital legislation, safeguarding workers, families, and communities during workforce changes, such as plant closings and mass layoffs. This article provides an overview of its components and enforcement, ensuring compliance and employee rights. Read on to learn how to issue a WARN notice in North Carolina and everything else you need to know about the WARN Act in NC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Does North Carolina have WARN Act?

Over half of the states, including North Carolina, lack their own state-level WARN Act. However, this doesn’t mean the workers of North Carolina are without protections. Federal WARN Act regulations still extend coverage to employees in North Carolina. The state requires employers to submit and issue WARN notices to workers, providing information on anticipated mass layoffs and plant closures, along with details on the number of affected workers.

Some states are not only regulated by the federal WARN Act, like Ohio, Georgia, Arizona, and Florida, but have their own requirements and regulations specified in their so-called mini-WARN Acts. These states include: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and more.

What is the North Carolina WARN Act?

North Carolina’s WARN Act ensures protection for workers facing layoffs or plant closures. Employers in North Carolina are mandated to provide advance notice to employees when aware of impending closures or layoffs. This notice serves to offer employees adequate time to explore alternative employment options. It’s important to note that the WARN Act operates independently of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which establishes guidelines for minimum wage, overtime, and unemployment benefits. The FLSA is not to be confused with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in North Carolina.

On a similar note, however, North Carolina holidays are determined both federally, and locally per state. Check out our federal holiday calendar for an updated and complete list.

WARN notices in North Carolina

WARN notices in North Carolina involve a 60-day advance notification requirement for employees facing layoffs or plant closures. If union workers are involved, notification is directed to union representatives rather than individual employees. While there’s no specific template for the notice, it must be in writing and include crucial information such as the site and date of closure or layoffs, reasons for the action, whether the loss is permanent or temporary, affected job titles, unions, and the number of employees, and follow-up contact information.

See previously issued WARN notices for the state of North Carolina here.

Who do North Carolina employers have to give a WARN notice?

Employers covered by the act must provide written notice to affected workers, labor unions representing these workers, the State Rapid Response Coordinator, and the chief elected official of the local government where the employment site is located. This notice should be delivered at least 60 days before the anticipated plant closing or mass layoff.

What Triggers the WARN Act in North Carolina?

Certain situations trigger the WARN Act in North Carolina:

1. Plant closings affecting 50 or more employees for at least 30 days.
2. Mass layoffs involving at least 500 full-time employees.
3. Mass layoffs involving at least 50 full-time employees, constituting 33% or more of the employer’s workforce.
4. Plant closings or layoffs extended over 90 days.

What is a plant closing?

When an employment site or facility is shut down, resulting in an employment loss for 50 or more employees during a 30-day period.

What are mass layoffs?

When a mass layoff occurs that does not result from a plant closing, but leads to an employment loss for 500 or more employees during a 30-day period, or for 50-499 employees if they constitute at least 33% of the employer’s active workforce.

What are extended layoffs?

When the cumulative employment losses for two or more groups of workers, each falling below the minimum threshold for notice, reach the threshold level during any 90-day period for either a plant closing or mass layoff.

Do you know the difference between layoffs, a reduction in force, and firing?

North Carolina WARN Act Requirements

In North Carolina, employers are covered by the WARN Act if they have 100 or more employees, excluding those with less than six months of service in the last 12 months or those working an average of less than 20 hours per week. The Act applies to private, for-profit employers, private, nonprofit employers, and public and quasi-public entities operating in a commercial context.

Employees entitled to notice under the WARN Act include hourly and salaried workers, as well as managerial and supervisory employees. However, business partners are not entitled to notice.

The core focus of WARN Act requirements in North Carolina is on notification. Employers must provide advance notice before a change in employment affecting many employees.

The state of North Carolina encourages all employers to issue a WARN notice, regardless of whether they are legally required to do so by meeting the WARN act minimum employee threshold or any of the other criteria.

offboarding layoff software

How is the WARN Act Enforced in North Carolina?

Enforcement of the North Carolina WARN Act is carried out through the United States District Courts. Workers, their representatives, and units of local government have the right to bring individual or class-action suits against employers believed to be in violation of the Act. The court may, at its discretion, award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party as part of the costs.

Violations of the WARN Act, including failure to adhere to notification period requirements, may result in back pay for affected employees and penalties of up to $500 per day of violation. Employers are required to settle liabilities with aggrieved employees within three weeks of closure or layoff. Failure to comply may lead to individual or class-action lawsuits in the U.S. District Court. Consult with North Carolina labor lawyers to address potential violation claims and always read the official sources before making any decisions, as laws are subject to change.

warn notice letter template

Why is the North Carolina WARN Act important?

Understanding the intricacies of the North Carolina WARN Act is essential for HR managers to navigate workforce changes compliantly and ensure the rights of employees are upheld during significant transitions. This guide covers key aspects, providing a foundation for effective compliance and transparent communication during challenging times.

Related: Compliance calendar for HR

Offboarding your workforce during a layoff

Once you’ve followed all the required steps mandated by North Carolina during plant closings and mass layoffs, it’s time to begin the offboarding process at your company. Offboarding so many employees at the same time can be a time consuming and costly process, but with the right HR software, it can be easy.

How to offboard employees with HR software

Factorial simplifies the offboarding process, streamlining tasks and ensuring a smooth transition for departing employees. With Factorial, you can efficiently manage exit procedures, such as collecting company assets, updating access permissions, and conducting exit interviews. Offboarding software simplifies the entire process from start to finish.

Key Features for offboarding during layoffs:

1. Clear Communication: Easily communicate departure details to the departing employee, including the last day of work, return of company property, and other essential information.

2. Task Automation: Automate offboarding tasks, such as revoking system access, updating records, and notifying relevant departments, saving time and minimizing the risk of oversight.

3. Documentation and Compliance: Ensure compliance by generating necessary documentation, such as termination letters and exit surveys, helping you maintain a comprehensive record of the offboarding process.

4. Access Control: Centralize access control management, making it simple to revoke access to company systems and confidential information, safeguarding your organization’s data.

By utilizing Factorial for offboarding, HR managers can enhance efficiency, maintain compliance, and provide a positive experience for departing employees.

Book a free demo call to learn more!

Did you like this article? Benjamin McBrayer has been a Content Writer for 5 years. He specializes in HR strategy and workplace trends. Check out Factorial's blog for more of his posts on time management in the office, productivity, and HR news.

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