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Highlights

In 2001, 1.75 million workers lost jobs through extended mass layoffs. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires advance notice of plant closures and mass layoffs. The report discusses (1) the extent to which plant closures and mass layoffs were subject to WARN's requirements, (2) the extent to which employers with mass layoffs and plant closures provided notice, and (3) what issues employers and employees face when assessing the applicability of WARN to their circumstances.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
To clarify employer responsibilities and employee rights under WARN and to address varying court decisions, the Congress may wish to consider amending WARN by simplifying the calculation of layoff thresholds, clarifying how damages are calculated, defining the term "employer" to address closely related corporations, and establishing a uniform statute of limitations.
Closed - Implemented
In response to this recommendation, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has considered amendments to WARN to clarify employer responsibilties and employee rights. They have drafted legislation amending WARN that incorporates these changes.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Labor 1. To educate and inform employers and employees about WARN, the Secretary of Labor should take immediate action to make revised educational materials widely available to employers and employees for assistance in understanding the regulations.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Labor has produced new WARN educational materials-- a brochure addressing workers' concerns and another addressing those of employers. These brochures have been posted on the Employment and Training Administration's web site and are being distributed in both English and Spanish. In addition, the Department has posted the preamble to the WARN regulations on its web site. The preamble provides a detailed commentary on the Department's interpretation of the regulations. Other enhanced educational materials include the WARN elaws Advisor that the Department is currently developing and expects to be completed by mid-2004.

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