The New York Department of Labor (NYDOL) has issued proposed new regulations, subject to a 45-day public commentary period, to clarify provisions of its statewide Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

The New York WARN Act, which was revised at the beginning of 2009, sets different thresholds and notification periods that are more stringent than federal requirements. New York, for instance, imposes a 90-day notification mandate versus the feds’ 60-day requirement, and the law affects companies with 50 or more employees as opposed to 100 on the national level. Layoffs also trigger the notification requirement at a lower level, just 25 affected employees as opposed to 50.

The March 4 regulations seek to clarify some of these provisions. For instance, New York WARN requires notification when there is a reduction in hours worked (in addition to mass layoffs and terminations). The new regs set the threshold at 25 employees facing a reduction in hours, provided those 25 employees represent at least 33 percent of the total workforce. The notice must also be issued if 250 employees, regardless of the percentage, are affected.

The reduction in hours must total at least 50 percent during any one month in a six-month period for the trigger to go off.

The regulations seek to clarify other definitions and requirements as well.