Employers closing facilities or engaging in mass layoffs of 50 or more are generally required to provide 45 days’ notice to the Commissioner of Labor and the Secretary of Commerce, and 30 days’ notice to the employees and to the chief elected or administrative official of the municipality where the layoff or closing occurs. However, Vermont’s Notice of Potential Layoffs Act provides exceptions to that rule in the event that the business closing or mass layoff is caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time the 45-day notice would have been required; and/or the business closing or mass layoff is due to a disaster beyond the control of the employer.
As a result, the Department of Labor does not intend to enforce the provisions of the Act against businesses who are forced to lay off employees due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 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.
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VERMONT NOTICE OF POTENTIAL LAYOFFS ACT REQUIREMENTS:
The State of Vermont requires all employers who are closing or conducting mass layoffs of 50 or more employees over a 90-day period to notify the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development and the Commissioner of Labor 45 days prior to the effective closing or layoff date that reaches the required thresholds. Employers must send the Secretary and Commissioner the approximant number of employees affected along with their job titles and the anticipated date of job loss. Additionally, employers are required to pay all unpaid wages and compensation owed to any laid off worker.
Employers are also required to give a 30-day notice to all local chief elected officials or administrative officers, the municipality and any bargaining unit.
- Workforce Development Rapid Response: The Vermont Department of Labor Workforce Development division provides Rapid Response services to employers transitioning through downsizing, laying off workers and/or closing a facility by coordinating services and providing immediate assistance both on and off site to affected employers and workers.
- Unemployment Insurance Mass Claims Program: The Vermont Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance division provides employers support in the case of a business slowdown, temporary or permanent employee layoffs of five or more employees to open claims for affected employees.
Notices of Potential Layoff should be sent to:
Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, VT 05601-0488
Questions regarding Notices of Potential Layoff should be directed to:
Dirk Anderson, General Counsel
Vermont Department of Labor
WORKER ADJUSTMENT AND RETRAINING NOTIFICATION (WARN) ACT REQUIREMENTS:
The Federal WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide a 60-calendar day notice of business closing or mass layoffs of employees to managers, supervisors, hourly and salaried employees. This notice must also be given to all associated employee representatives such as labor unions, the local elected officials as well as the state’s dislocated worker unit if laying off 500 or more employees or 33 percent of the employer’s active workforce.
Advanced notice of job loss allows impacted employees to seek alternative employment and take advantage of training programs and other support programs to successfully reenter the workforce.
Federal Exceptions to WARN:
Employers are not required to provide notice if the layoff is for six months or less, if hours worked are not reduced to 50 percent each month during a six month period, if the business closing or layoffs are a result of unforeseeable circumstances at the time the 60-day notice would have been required or if an employer is required to close or layoff due to a natural disaster.