(NEXSTAR) – Between tons of tech layoffs and major retailers closing up shop, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little uneasy in terms of job security. Depending on the size of your company and your state of residence, you may be able to easily check if your employer is planning serious cuts or branch closures.
It’s thanks to a federal law called the WARN Act, which stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
Essentially, the law requires employers with 100 or more full-time employees to give 60 days of advanced notice for plant closings or mass layoffs. A “mass layoff” is defined as: (1) loss of 500 or more jobs at an employment site or (2) loss of 50 to 499 jobs, if that number makes up more than 33% of the company’s workforce.
Some states have even stricter rules, requiring WARN notices from smaller companies or employers planning layoffs that affect fewer people.
For-profit and non-profit companies are covered by the federal law, but government jobs are not. (There are other exceptions and situational factors, many of which are covered in a Department of Labor FAQ.)
The WARN Act requires employers to give written notification to employees (or their union representatives) who may be reasonably affected by the planned layoffs or closures. It’s a federal law, so the requirements apply in all 50 states.
On top of that, many (but not all) states make filed WARN notices publicly available online. Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Florida and Texas, for example, all have databases that are easy to download or search through online.
Since January 2023 in Ohio, 31 companies have announced layoffs. The most being at McLaren St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee and Lucas counties with 743 employees impacted. The hospital is permanently closing.
Closer to Home, Crothall Healthcare, which contracts with Mercy Health, announced its contract with the Youngstown hospital was ending impacting 88 workers. However, the employees are being retained by the new vendor.
In Pennsylvania, 17 companies announced layoffs since January with the most being 597 at the Walmart Distribution Center in Bethlehem. David’s Bridal closures were also included but the statistics on that are pending, according to the WARN website.
The closest layoffs were in Mercer County at Grove City College where Bon Appetit Management Company is closing, according to the WARN website. The closure impacts 185 employees.
A Department of Labor spokesperson told Nexstar “some states publish a listing of received WARN notices on their websites. However, they are not required to do so. Thus, the frequency and amount of information often varies.”
Searching your state’s name plus “WARN notices” will point you in the right direction to find your state’s database, if it’s available online.
For those having trouble finding the information online, the Department of Labor also has contact information for Rapid Response Coordinators in all 50 states.
For those stressed about their job, remember the nature of the WARN Act requires the company to inform employees who may be affected. So if your job is at risk in one of the mass layoffs or closures described by the law, you should already have been notified before finding the information online.
The latest jobless claims numbers, published Thursday, show 13,000 more people applied for unemployment benefits in the last week of April when compared to the week before. Overall, about 1.8 million people were collecting unemployment in the week ending on April 22.
The unemployment rate was still quite low last month at 3.5%.