Workers are taking a stand against racial and economic inequity. At TechEquity, our community is tackling these issues head-on by strengthening protections for laid-off workers.
We’re excited to sponsor AB 1356, the Protect Laid Off Workers Act in California. The bill will expand the state’s existing layoff protection law, the WARN Act, to meet the needs of workers today. It will extend the requirement to give notice of a layoff from 60 to 90 days, ensure that no workers’ safety net is tied up in severance negotiations, and include contract workers in these protections for the first time ever.
AB 1356 has a long road ahead before becoming law, so stay tuned for campaign updates as we fight to protect laid-off workers.
In the past year, we’ve seen mass layoffs in tech disrupt the lives of thousands of workers—including contract workers, immigrant workers, workers on parental leave, and many more. The tech layoffs could be a harbinger of what is to come—we need to ensure that the most vulnerable workers in tech and beyond are protected in the face of an unexpected job loss.
California recognizes that workers need a safety net in the event of a layoff, which is why 20 years ago it expanded on the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), to protect more workers when they experience an unexpected job loss through a mass layoff. Since then, the economy and realities for workers have shifted dramatically—we need updated layoff protections to meet the needs of workers today. We need to:
Over 33% of Californians do not have 3 months of savings to cover basic necessities in the event of an unexpected job loss. Workers in California need stability, warning and notice, and a safety net when layoffs occur.
We must increase the notice requirement to 90 days to reflect what other states have already done to protect their workforce (New York) and to ensure that workers have protections when a CEO decides to unilaterally layoff hundreds of people in a day.
Contract workers are often working side by side with directly employed peers, or providing critical support, at these companies. Despite this, they don’t receive the same protections as their directly employed counterparts.
California’s contract workforce is sizable, with approximately 1.9 million employees in 2021, but these worker’s aren’t usually covered by the existing WARN Act, and are already twice as likely to be paid poverty wages compared to workers in any other industry.
The legislation would ensure that companies cannot use their legally required responsibilities under the WARN Act to compel workers to sign away their rights.No worker should have to waive their legal rights in order to receive the wages they are owed under the WARN Act.
That’s why Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) authored AB 1356, the Protect Laid-Off Workers Act to expand California’s WARN Act. AB 1356 will protect contract workers in the event of layoffs, extend the WARN Act notice from 60 to 90 days, and ensure that no workers’ safety net is tied up in severance negotiations. The Protect Laid-Off Workers Act is sponsored by TechEquity Collaborative, California Labor Federation, Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, National Employment Law Project, Temp Worker Justice, National Legal Advocacy Network, and California Employment Lawyers Association.
For the nitty-gritty details, you can check out the full bill language here.