Last week, the Federal Oversight, Reform, and Enforcement of the WARN (FOREWARN) Act was introduced in the House by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and in the Senate by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). FOREWARN aims to amend the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act by requiring more and smaller employers to notify workers of plant closings or mass layoffs. FOREWARN also would increase penalties for employers who violate the act. For more information, click here to read Senator Brown's press release on FOREWARN.
This isn't the first time in Congress for FOREWARN; it was introduced in 2007, but failed to gain traction, perhaps because of a likely veto from the then Bush White House had it passed. The reintroduction of FOREWARN does not come as a big surprise: the Stoel Rives World of Employment warned (ouch! bad pun!) that changes were coming to the WARN Act back in March. Better yet, we predicted FOREWARN would be on then President-Elect Obama's agenda back in November 2008.
While FOREWARN is still making its way through Congress, employers must comply with the existing WARN Act, and we have some WARN Act resources to help:
- For a basic overview of the law, here's a basic WARN Act Fact Sheet.
- For more detailed information, download the Employer's Guide to the WARN Act (a great resource and our personal favorite).
- Next, if your layoff is caused by an "act of God," you might want to download the WARN Act Natural Disaster Fact Sheet.
- And finally, you can read what the DOL is telling your employees: the Workers' Guide to the WARN Act, and for Spanish-speaking employees, the Guía para el Trabajadores.