New Employer Guidelines for the WARN Act

June 22, 2020 - minute read

As businesses continue to endure ongoing pandemic challenges, many have begun to face yet another unfortunate obstacle: employee furloughs and layoffs. Luckily, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued additional guidelines for complying with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

To avoid compliance problems and ensure your workers are properly notified of mass layoffs or plant closings, you must carefully monitor the workforce trends of your operation and WARN requirements for the foreseeable future. Let’s take a closer look at the DOL insights for managing workforce fluctuations and creating long-term stability for your business under WARN obligations.

Overview of the WARN Act

Simply put, the WARN Act requires you to give employees a 60-day notice of mass layoffs, plant closings, and other foreseeable events. If your business employs 100 or more full-time workers or 100 or more full-time and part-time workers who work 4000 hours per week (not including overtime), this requirement applies to you!

The WARN Act is especially relevant for those of you who are realizing you can’t bring all your workers back to work. You may have suspended WARN notices in the hopes that an operational recess would only last six months and end with the recalling all the members of your workforce. However, now that many furloughs and layoffs are likely to be extended, you need to determine whether the number of employees being let go triggers federal notice requirements.

WARN Act Guidelines: The Latest Tips from the DOL

Here are the latest insights for your operation to use for achieving compliance with the WARN Act in the coming months.

  • It is necessary to track the number of employees experiencing an employment loss within 30 days, as well as during a 90-day rolling period. Even if the number of employment losses during a 30-day period fails to meet the initial threshold, it may still contribute towards a 90-day period threshold. Unless you can prove that employment losses during the 90-day period were the result of isolated situations, you need to monitor both timeframes closely and uphold the required communication.
  • If a furlough or layoff is extended beyond the six-month period from new, unforeseeable circumstances, you must provide notice once it becomes reasonably foreseeable that an extension is required.
  • Circumstances which are outside your control, including major economic spirals or federally mandated site closures, are considered exceptions to the WARN rules. If you are unable to provide 60 days’ notice of a closure or layoff and due to an unforeseen development, you are still required to give as much notice as possible to employees, including a brief statement on why you are providing less than the required notice.
  • A faltering company is not required to give notice of an anticipated plant closing, so long as your organization is actively seeking the means or business to avoid or postpone a plant closing. If you have reasonable belief that giving employees advanced notice would undermine your ability to achieve the necessary capital or business to prevent layoffs, this may be a pathway you can take.
  • Email is an acceptable form of delivery of the WARN Act notice to employees. That said, the email address must be specific to each of your individual employees and the notice must comply with all written notice requirements of WARN Act regulations.

Managing Workforce Changes with EPAY Systems

When it comes to managing hourly workforce activity and optimizing compliance, no one does it quite like EPAY Systems. Our Human Capital Management solution provides a seamless platform for monitoring the activity of your workforce as well as the overarching effects of your operational changes. Looking for a quick overviews of employee hours, budget restrictions, or total layoffs for a certain period of time? Our user-friendly design makes tracking and obtaining this data easier than ever.

When it comes to the WARN Act requirements, you need to make sure your business is always looking ahead. Check out our predictive analytics to ensure you’ve got a clear, decisive, and compliant path for moving forward. Check out an overview of our HCM platform and request a demo today!

Filed Under: Compliance Workforce Management COVID-19