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Committee Leaders Request Information on WARN Act and Sequestration

Dear Secretary Solis: 

We are greatly concerned the Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) July 30, 2012, Training and Employment Guidance Letter (the guidance) is misleading and incomplete with respect to federal contractors’ obligations under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) and the department’s role in enforcing the act.  In short, the department creates the false impression that the guidance confers blanket immunity from the WARN Act, when in reality a contractor’s failure to issue 60-day notices regarding sequestration-caused layoffs could result in costly private litigation.  To ensure contractors and other interested parties do not misinterpret the guidance or inappropriately regard it as giving blanket WARN Act immunity, we respectfully request information, documents, and communications related to the guidance.

The guidance is intended to “provide[] clarity about the WARN Act responsibilities of Federal contractors” whose contracts may be terminated or reduced in the event of sequestration, and “prevent the inefficient use of resources that are deployed in response to WARN Act notices.” It advises that contractors preparing for sequestration are not required to provide WARN Act notices to their workers alerting them of a plant closing or mass layoff, adding, “[T]o provide such notice would be inconsistent with the purpose of the WARN Act.” This guidance suggests federal contractors can set aside consideration of the WARN Act in the context of sequestration.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

To read the full letter, click here

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