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WARN notice: What if employees aren’t all terminated at the same time?

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Q. I've read that 50 or more employees must be affected by a plant closing in order to trigger a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice requirement. We will be closing a plant, but it will take several months before all employees will be laid off. When are we required to give the notice?

A. You will want to review your plant closing schedule with your legal counsel, as there are a number of tricky issues involved. Generally speaking, however, if you will close a plant over a period of months, no notice is required unless there will be employment losses of 50 or more employees during any 90-day period. Be aware that WARN requires you to look at employment losses 90 days before and 90 days after every layoff to determine whether the 50-employees test has been met.

You are required to specify a layoff date or dates within at least a two-week period. If you cannot be that specific when you initially announce the plant closing, then you must provide additional notices to the affected parties so they have the 60 days’ notice of when specific layoffs will occur.

You can give notice more than 60 days before the plant closing—there is no prohibition against providing the notice way in advance, as long as you specify when the layoffs will take place.

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