Lawmakers introducing new legislation to increase WARN notices for workers

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Among other worker protections, the legislation would require employers to give workers more notice of impending closures or mass layoffs

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – Local lawmakers are joining others in supporting legislation to strengthen worker protections.

The Fair Warning Act would give workers more notice before layoffs or business closures, among other additional protections.

Currently, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act gives workers and communities 60 days notice before a mass layoff or impending closure. Congress passed that in 1988.

The Fair Warning Act would add to the WARN Act, requiring employers to give 90-day written notices to employees and certain lawmakers.

Additionally, the Fair Warning Act would offer these protections:
– Redefines the terms “affected employee,” “employer,” “site closing,” “mass layoff” and “employment loss” for purposes of the Act
– Applies the requirements to employers of 50 or more employees, reduced from 100 employees, including any parent company of which the business is a subsidiary
– Lowers the mass layoff thresholds for triggering these requirements
– Requires an employer to notify the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the governor of the state in which the closing or layoff will occur, with the Secretary subsequently required to inform corresponding Congressional offices
– Grants the U.S. Secretary of Labor authority to investigate and respond to complaints
– Requires an employer to provide affected employees with information about the employee’s rights and the benefits and services available to them, including unemployment compensation, COBRA health benefits and onsite access to rapid response teams
– Increases the penalties for employer violations of these requirements

Congressman Tim Ryan and Sen. Sherrod Brown are introducing the legislation, along with Maryland Congressman David Trone and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

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