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What is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act?

Whenever certain businesses in Maryland and throughout the country intend on closing or laying off a large amount of its employees, they must adhere to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Under this federal law, companies with at least 100 employees are required to give advance notification of at least 60 calendar days to their employees regarding the layoff or closing.

WARN is for the benefit of all the company's employees, whether they receive their pay via salary or hourly, and it includes employees in managerial and supervisor positions. By giving employees advance warning of employment losses, they have opportunity to seek new employment, which may necessitate training for a new skill or trade. Thus, employees and their families are protected from a sudden loss of income in such circumstances. The law also requires employers to notify the Maryland dislocated worker unit, the local government chief elected official and any representatives of the employees, such as a union.

The law does not apply to employees of local, state and federal government agencies that serve the community. Moreover, some states have enacted their own set of regulations pertaining to plant closures.

Some larger businesses may be subjected to certain laws that may not be common knowledge. It may be possible for an employer to become involved in employment disputes dude to failure to comply with certain laws that come into effect when the business reaches employment thresholds. However, consultation with an attorney may help a business avoid disputes. If litigation become necessary, the attorney may also be able to assert their client's rights in court.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)," accessed on Jan. 11, 2015

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