HR LAW: WHAT IS WARN?
HR LAW: WHAT IS WARN? WARN or Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 is a federal law that protects workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to give a 60 day notice of covered plant closings and mass layoffs. This time is intended to give the worker time to transition by finding other work or pursue training for another job. A number of states also have WARN Act layoff notice laws that may be stricter than the federal law and may apply to smaller employers.
Which Employers must follow WARN?
Employers required to adhere to WARN have 100 or more full time employees in all locations, not counting some employees regarding the total employee count:
» Who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months
» Who work an average of less than 20 hours a week.
These employers must follow WARN:
» Private for-profit employers
» Nonprofit employers
» Public and Quasi-public entities which operate in a commercial context and are separately organized from the regular government.
**NOT Covered: Regular Federal, State, and local government entities which provide public services.
Which Employees are protected under WARN?
Employees who are covered under WARN:
» Part-Time and Full-Time Hourly Workers
» Part-Time and Full-Time Salaried Workers
» Managerial Employees
» Supervisory Employees
**NOT Covered – Business partners
NOTE: Although part-time employees are not counted in determining whether a reduction in force affects enough employees to trigger the WARN Act, they are entitled to WARN Act notice if they’re being laid off.
Who must be given the WARN Notice?
Must be provided a WARN Notice at least 60 days before the Closing:
» Employees affected by the reduction in force or representatives of the affected employees (If the notice is not giving directly to the employer, it must be given to their representative like a labor union representative.)
» The state’s dislocated worker unit which responds on-site to assist workers facing job losses (WARN also provides for notice to state dislocated worker units so that they can promptly offer dislocated worker assistance.)
» The local government in which the facility is located.
Plant Closing & Mass Layoff
A covered plant closing occurs when a facility or operating unit is shut down for more than six months and affects:
» 50 or more employees who lose their jobs during any 30‑day period
» 50 or more employees who lose their jobs in two or more events over the course of 90 days
A covered mass layoff occurs when a layoff or reduction of six months or longer:
» affects 500 or more workers
» affects 33 percent of the employer’s total workforce and at least 50 employees.
What is “Employment Loss”?
» Separation of Employment for anything other than Voluntary Resignation
» Layoffs over 6 months
» Reduction in Hours by more than 50% over a period of 6 months
Exemptions to WARN
WARN Notice Exceptions:
» Warn does not apply to closure of temporary facilities
» Warn does not apply to the completion of an activity when the workers were hired only for the duration of that activity.
» WARN also provides for less than 60 days’ notice when the layoffs resulted from closure of a faltering company, unforeseeable business circumstances, or a natural disaster.
WARN Penalties and Lawsuits
Affected workers, their representative and local government units can bring individual or class action lawsuits. The United States District Courts enforce WARN regulations. This Court may also attorney’s fees as part of their judgement.
Penalties for Non-Compliance to WARN:
» Back pay
» Benefits owed
» Monetary Penalties
5 Ways to Avoid WARN Penalties and Non-compliance:
- Give Notice ASAP to all affected employees
- Give extra Notice for Delays
- Before the sale of a business, the seller is required to give notice if the sale triggers a plant closing or mass layoff
- After the sale of a business, the buyer is required to give notice if the sale triggers a plant closing or mass layoff
- Check out your State’s laws, which may be different from these federal requirements of WARN. HR LAW: WHAT IS WARN?
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