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What visibility does a WARN Provide?

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act or WARN became law on August 4, 1988, and went into effect on February 4, 1989. The purpose of this law is to provide protections for workers and their families, as well as communities that may be affected by mass layoffs and a plant closing. A worker is to receive notice from their employer at least 60 days prior to any action by an employer.

A plant closing is one trigger that requires a WARN notice to be sent to affected employees. This can be a facility that results in 50 or more workers that are affected within a 30-day period. However, when an employee is employed for less than 6 months during the past 12 months a WARN notice does not apply.

A mass layoff is another trigger that requires a WARN notice to be sent to affected employees. This can apply if there are 500 or more employees at a plant and work loss occurs during any 30-day period. The plant/office can have 50-499 workers if they contribute up to a 33 percent of the workforce. However, notices need to be sent for affected employees the same as a plant closing trigger.

In many cases this may mean that an employer will be required to keep a notice based on their ordinary business practices. If an employer typically posts a notice in a specific area, a WARN notice will be similarly displayed. Common areas that a worker may find a WARN notice is a bulletin board or in a common break area. Requirements may also be required by a union contract. Personnel policies should be reviewed to ensure that a WARN notice is adequately posted.

Typically, only a large business will need to provide a WARN notice. This type of notice does not apply to every employer, nor does it apply to firings that may be considered a layoff. The human resources department of a company that may be subject to WARN will require materials to ensure compliance with the law. To do this a company can seek out a human resource and policy expert service to develop adequate personnel policies.

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