Department of Labor Issues Guidance on WARN Act Notices for Plant Closings and Mass Layoffs During COVID-19

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued guidelines on the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act as a result of pandemic-related employee furloughs and layoffs. As employers develop return-to-work strategies, they may be unable to recall or re-hire all workers who have been furloughed or laid off. The inability to recall workers may require employers to provide notice under the WARN Act, especially if employers opted to forego WARN notice when initially implementing furloughs based on a reasonable belief that the furlough would last six months or less. The key provisions of the WARN Act that employers should consider as they assess return-to-work strategies are discussed below.

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