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Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

February 9th, 2017

The Department of Labor’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires employers to notify workers of company closings or layoffs 60 days in advance. WARN applies to employers with 100 or more workers, excluding those that work less than 20 hours per week or have been employed less than six months. Notice of a plant closing or mass layoff should be provided to the workers or their union, the State dislocated worker unit, and the relevant local government agency.

Notification of plant closings must be given when it meets certain criteria. Per WARN, if a plant closing will cause the employment loss of 50 or more people during any 30-day period, notification must be given. Regarding mass layoffs, or reductions in force, notification must be given whether or not they are related to a plant closing. Additionally, a layoff affecting 500 or more workers, or 33% of the employer’s workforce for any 30-day period, notification must be given.

WARN also applies to some situations involving the sale of a business. When the sale of a business leads to a plant closing or mass layoff as defined by the WARN criteria, employees must be given 60-days notice. Prior to the sale of the business, the seller must provide notice. After the sale date, the buyer is obligated to notify employees. If the sale of a business won’t result in plant closings or mass layoffs, notice is not required.

When providing notice, employers must give it in writing to the highest elected officer of the employees’ bargaining agency or directly to the affected employees if they are not part of a union or similar agency. Even though employees working less than six months or less than 20 hours per week are not counted among the WARN affected employees, they should also receive notice of plant closings or mass layoffs.

There are only three exceptions to the 60-day notice rule, per WARN. Companies in the process of seeking capital to remain open may forego notification if doing so jeopardizes their chances of obtaining it. For company closings and shutdowns that are due to circumstances not foreseeable within the 60-day window, employers are excused from notifying employees. Lastly, if a business closes or suffers layoffs due to a natural disaster, they are exempt from WARN. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act is in place to protect workers and their families, and is enforceable through the United States district courts.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Protect Workers’ Rights

Employees are protected against wrongful termination. If you suspect you were fired without cause, Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. can help. Our attorneys handle all aspects of employment law and know your rights as a worker. We can determine if you have a case against your employer. Call our Center City Philadelphia offices to schedule your free initial consultation at 215-569-1999 or complete our convenient online contact form to get started. Sidney L. Gold & Associates serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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