By Ken Niezgoda, BIZ Reporter
Oregon businesses that may have never considered significant layoffs in the past are facing the prospect of huge staff reductions. Many employers are aware that the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers facing large-scale layoffs to post written notice so that employees can seek new jobs or retraining. Some don’t realize that state services are available even if a layoff doesn’t meet WARN criteria.
“It would be nice if we could get the word out,” said Laura Roberts of The Dislocated Worker Unit. As part of the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, the unit provides services to employees facing layoff.
Once a WARN notice is posted, the State Rapid Response Dislocated Worker Unit coordinates with the employer to assist workers who will be laid off. The unit provides services such as labor market information, job search and placement assistance, training, and referral to basic and remedial education.
“In a perfect world, we could organize pre-layoff services and get the information out to the site,” said Roberts. “If we have that 60 day and a cooperative employer, we can provide services.”
Roberts said employers can contact her directly with questions: 503-378-8648 x 238 or [email protected] She will put the employer in contact with a local liaison for the program.
There have been 19 WARN notices issued since January, the largest issued by Monaco Coach Corporation of Coburg, which laid off 1396 employees. Roberts said that the many of the CCWD services are available to employers even if a WARN notice is not issued.
The WARN Act, which became effective in August of 1988, “…requires employers to provide written notice at least 60 calendar days in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs,” according to the CCWD website.
Companies required to send WARN notices typically have 100 or more employees and are laying off 50 or more at a single site, although different criteria may apply that require an employer to send notice. The CCWD site advises employers to review 20 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 639 for the full set of criteria.
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