Vermont Department of Labor Announces It Will Not Enforce Mini-WARN Act For Layoffs Caused By Effects of COVID-19

Note that all Sheehey guidance regarding COVID-19 is subject to change, as the legal landscape is evolving rapidly. Please note the date of publication for this bulletin, and be aware that things may have changed since then. Please check our COVID-19 landing page for the most up-to-date posts and contact us with any questions.

Ordinarily, under Vermont’s Notice of Potential Layoffs (the so-called “Mini-WARN Act”) requires qualifying employers to notify the State 45 days in advance of closing or laying off 50 or more employees over a 90-day period. It also requires qualifying employers to give 30 days’ notice to the affected employees and the chief elected or administrative official of the municipality where the layoff or closing occurs.

Qualified employers under the Mini-WARN Act are those with fifty or more (1) full-time employees, (2) part-time employees who work at least 1,040 hours per year, or (3) full-time and part-time employees who work for the requisite 1,040 hours annually.

The Vermont Department of Labor recently announced that it would not enforce the requirements of the Mini-WARN Act against businesses who are forced to lay off employees due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on exceptions in the law for circumstances not reasonably foreseeable to the employer and/or layoffs or closing due to a disaster beyond the control of the employer.

Although the Department of Labor is not enforcing the Mini-Warn Act notification requirements, affected employers are still encouraged to reach out to the Department of Labor and Agency of Commerce and Community Development for assistance when they are contemplating a layoff. For more information on this topic, see the Vermont Department of Labor’s announcement.

Sheehey’s employment law team is ready to answer any questions related to the Mini-Warn Act requirements, available assistance for employers contemplating closure or layoffs, and all other COVID-19 related inquiries. To reach us, email attorneys@sheeheyvt.com