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Hochul: New tech, regulations to help workers facing layoffs


Mon, Mar 13th 2023 11:25 am

Says new WARN Act portal will help employers file layoff notices through a faster, more streamlined process

√ NYSDOL strengthening regulations to clarify WARN Act requirements for businesses

√ Part of New York State Department of Labor's 4-year technology implementation plan

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans 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.

Her team said, “This upgraded online tool will give businesses the ability to file 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.

“The governor also announced changes to the state's WARN Act regulations to address the post-pandemic employment climate, and help to ensure compliance of the New York State WARN Act.

Hochul said, "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. 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 jobseekers with fulfilling work opportunities."

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 press release stated, “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.

Hochul’s team said, “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.

“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].

The launch of the WARN Act portal is part of NYSDOL's ongoing four-year strategic modernization plan to reduce call volume, enhance customer experience, and swiftly connect New Yorkers to unemployment insurance benefits.

NYSDOL is currently working with the New York State Office of Information Technology Services to develop and implement:

√ A new bot-driven omni-channel contact center to answer specific customer claim questions.

√ An upgraded forms management system for rapid processing.

√ A revamped intranet system to improve NYSDOL training to improve efficiency of the claims process.

√ A new modern system to replace the outdated UI mainframe.

√ Establish a new operating model to improve and increase customer engagement.

For more information on WARN, read NYSDOL's WARN fact sheet.

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