Senator Mayer & Assemblyman Otis Celebrate WARN Act Reform Legislation Signage to Require Notice to Affected Communities & School Districts in the Event of Mass Layoffs or Closings

Westchester, NY – This week, State Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblyman Steve Otis are pleased to announce that legislation they sponsored (S.8748/A.10674), to reform the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The WARN Act protects employees, families, and communities during mass layoffs, such as what occurred at the Doral Arrowwood Resort in late December 2019. The newly-passed bill closes a serious loophole in the current law and would require employers subject to the WARN Act to notify the top elected leaders of the communities and school districts affected of their plans to shut down, as well as the communities that provide emergency services to the site. Municipalities and school districts that will lose needed tax revenue in the event of shutdowns, as well as emergency service providers, should have notice and an opportunity to make plans to address such significant changes in their communities.

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “Thank you to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing into law a bill I proposed that will protect school districts and local governments in the event of a mass layoff in their area. The abrupt shutdown of the Doral Arrowwood Resort in Rye Brook exposed numerous loopholes in the WARN Act statute that left employees, families, and communities vulnerable when mass layoffs occur. This new law will ensure that municipalities, school districts, and emergency service providers whose tax revenue is impacted in the event of a mass layoff will receive adequate notice and time to prepare and adjust budgets. The pandemic has shown us that we can’t always know when extreme challenges are around the corner, but affected communities should always be notified when a planned mass layoff or closure occurs.”

Assemblyman Steve Otis said, “Our experience with the Arrowwood closing demonstrated that we needed legislation to provide notice to local governments and school districts before major layoffs and closings occur. Early information will alert communities of actions they may have to take if layoffs occur and may even provide an opportunity for them to help prevent the layoffs. With early knowledge of a possible layoff or closure local governments may now be able to play a role in finding solutions. Governor Cuomo’s support for addressing this issue will benefit communities around the state where layoffs are being considered."

When news of the Doral Arrowwood closing was announced Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis were in contact with the affected local governments and school district on how the closure would affect their work and budgets. S.8784/A.10674 will enable communities to react sooner and more effectively to manage situations such as the closing of the Doral Arrowwood that have a significant impact on the well-being of their residents, essential service obligations, and revenue.

Mayor of Rye Brook Paul Rosenberg said, “Early notice to the top elected leaders and school districts is essential to minimizing the impact to our local communities. In these difficult times, when every tax dollar counts, as well as the devastating impacts of the loss of salaries of the residents that may be laid off, it is important to have as much time as possible to help those in need and minimize the impact to the rest of the community. I would like to thank Senator Mayer and Assemblyman Otis for recognizing this need and reacting quickly to introduce this legislation, and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law so that more notice can be given to municipalities and school districts to prevent the impacts that occurred at Doral Arrowwood going forward.