• August 31, 2009 | Author: Chad C. Almy
  • Law Firm: Troutman Sanders LLP - Atlanta Office
  • In the Spring edition of the Employment & The Law newsletter, we discussed the ALERT Act’s introduction into the House and its potential employee-friendly amendments to the WARN Act. On June 25, 2009, a bill with similar objectives was introduced into the House and Senate. The FOREWARN Act (H.R. 3042 and S. 1734) would amend the WARN Act to afford greater protection to workers facing future layoffs. Currently under the WARN Act, an employer must give affected employees at least 60-days notice before a mass layoff that involves at least 500 workers at a “single site of employment,” or at least 50 workers, if those 50 workers constitute at least one-third of the work force at a single site of employment. Employers must have more than 100 employees to be subject to the WARN Act. The Act looks at any 90-day period to determine whether a mass layoff has occurred.

    The FOREWARN Act would further amend the WARN Act by reducing the requisite number of employees necessary to come under the Act’s requirements from 100 to 75. Additionally, notification would be required before any layoff of 25 or more (down from 50) employees, if those 25 employees constitute at least one-third of the workers at a “single site of employment.” The notification period would also increase from 60 days to 90.

    Perhaps most importantly, WARN penalties would increase from one day of standard wages per day of failed notification to double that amount. The Department of Labor (DOL) would be given enforcement authority over the WARN Act, thus taking preliminary employee recourse out of the federal courts.