For mass layoff of employees or plant closings in the US at least 60 days advance notice to the affected workers is required under the provisions of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).It was enacted in 1989.
Employees entitled to notice under the WARN Act include managers, supervisors, hourly wage, and salaried workers. The WARN Act requires that notice also be given to employees' representatives (i.e. labor union), the local chief elected official (i.e. the mayor) for downsizing or job cuts.
The advance notice is designed to give workers time to obtain other employment and to receive skill training or re-training to successfully compete in the job market.
Employer Coverage under WARN Act
Generally, The WARN Act covers employers with 100 or more employees, not counting those who have worked less than six (6) months in the last twelve (12) month and those who work an average of less than twenty (20) hours a week.
Employee Coverage under WARN Act
Employees entitled to advance notice under the WARN Act include managers, supervisors, hourly-wage, and salaried workers.
Exemptions from WARN Act
- Employees unprotected by the WARN Act include,
- Strikers, or workers who have been locked out in a labor dispute;
- Workers on temporary projects or the work facilities
- Business partners, consultants, and contract employees of the closing business, with a separate employment relationship with another, second employer and self employed business partners, consultants, and contract employees
- Regular federal, state, and local government employees.
Exceptions to WARN Act
There is no notice period or WARN Act obligations in the following cases:
- If a downsizing affects less than 50 workers at a single employment site;
- If 50-499 workers lose their jobs, who are less than 33 per cent of the workforce at the concerned employment site;
- If a layoff is for 6 months or less; or
- If work hours are not cut down by 50 per cent in each month of any 6 month period.
Short Notice under WARN Act
A shorter notice of less than 60-days will suffice in exceptional cases. However, the notice must be given as soon as practicable, even in these exceptions with reasons behind cutting short the notice period. These three exceptions are:
Natural Disasters: Where the downsizing is due to natural calamities like flood, earthquake, hurricane etc, notice period may be reduced.
Sick Company: Where notice would damage the prospects of getting new capital or business that a faltering company has invited to avoid a shut down
Unforeseen Conditions: When the closing or mass layoff is triggered by unforeseen business circumstance that was not in contemplation at the time the 60-day notice would have been required, caused by some sudden, dramatic and rapid setbacks.
Forum under WARN Act
United States District Courts are designated to try complaints of WARN violations.
(For more http://www.doleta.gov/programs/factsht/warn.htm )