Utility of WARN notices

December 11, 2008
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In times like these, what do you think of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, commonly called the WARN Act or WARN notices?

The federal law was passed in 1988 to give employees 60 days’ notice of an impending layoff, and now it’s getting a workout as companies unload busloads of people.

Broadly speaking, the law applies to companies with at least 100 employees that plan to lay off at least 50 employees at a particular site. Both hourly and salaried workers are covered.

Is the law burdensome to employers? Should employers be required to give even longer notices?

  • Yes it is burdensome as the speed of business is different today. There is some feeling out there that companies like layoffs. That is not true. Companies are run by people who understand having bills to pay and mouths to feed. But those same people also understand 1) no cash in the company checking account and 2) damage frequently caused by workers on the way out (recall Marion). It's a good idea, but it cannot always be implemented. The Chicago Republic factory is the perfect example. The bank shut off cash. Banks do that, and the do it with little warning. It's illegal to print money so what did the employees expect? When there is no cash, the is no cash.

    Broader scaled, 60 days is a long time in many companies which have a selling to delivery cycle of less than 60 days. If that cycle is shorter than 60 days, you don't have complete control of need for labor because you don't know demand. It has nothing to do with bad management, it has to do with trickle down impact from customers.

    Unfortunately, as we move toward socialism, we will get more of this burdensome stuff thrown at business. All the more reason to look at never hiring people as regular employees.
  • No one likes to fire people, but it is just good business to make the transition as painless as possible.

    While giving 60 days notice is not always possible, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development has discretion to waive this period when 60 days worth of severance compensation is offered in exchange for advanced notice.

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