HR Compliance: The WARN Act

Mon Dec 16 2019

It’s the law - The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN) applies to companies with 75 employees or more. This law protects employees and their families by providing them advance notice in the event of a plant or location closure. Private, for-profit and nonprofit employers are covered under this law as are public entities. However, government entities, including federal, state, and local agencies are required to comply.

Company must provide a 60-day advance notice to employees if company temporarily or permanently conducts a massive lay-off because of lack of funds or lack of work, or, if a company relocates its operation more than 100 miles away or closes its facility. This law gives employees the right to know whether their jobs are in jeopardy. Providing employees with advance notice gives them time to look for alternate employment. Both hourly and salaried workers are entitled to receive this 60-day notice.

Communication is essential whereas employees will still be working. Ensure that the employees are taken care of; promote good employee relations and enhance communications. Employers have the responsibility of properly communicating with their employees and providing them with prior notice regarding layoffs. Clear and specific notice must be written and delivered to all employees in a timely manner.

Violation of this law may impose civil penalties of $500 per day for each violation. Violating this act can result in various liabilities. For instance, failure to notify employees within the required time frame can result in fees that include back pay and benefits for the period of the violation, up to 60 days.

Understanding the law can be difficult. There are many exemptions and details included in these laws; not having a clear understanding of them can lead to issues down the road. These laws are strictly enforced and we’re here to help make sure that your company complies with all the regulations. We would urge you to seek legal counsel when and if you are required to comply with this Act. We are not attorneys but work closely with a number of employment counsels. We would be happy to refer you to someone who can help.