More companies required to give 60-day layoff
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Affected Illinois company size reduced to 75
[AUG. 16, 2004]
-- Continuing to fight to protect the rights of working families,
Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the Illinois Worker Adjustment and
Retraining Notification Act into law on Thursday. The new law,
Senate Bill 2665, expands the federal Worker Adjustment and
Retraining Notification Act by covering more employees, requiring
companies planning a shutdown or mass layoff to notify the state in
writing, and requiring companies to continue to pay workers for 60
days after they submit their notice with the state.
"Requiring a 60-day notice period is
the responsible thing to do. This notice will help ease displaced
workers' shock, provide them with time to find new employment and
also provide the company and state with an opportunity to review the
situation and attempt to prevent the closing or layoffs," said Gov.
Blagojevich. "This makes sense for everyone."
The federal act applies to firms with
500 or more employees. This new law, the Illinois WARN Act, lowers
the threshold to 75 or more employees, thereby covering more
employers and employees under the act. Under the requirements of
this act, the employer must submit a written notice to the
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, to the employees
and to local government officials.
Senate Bill 2665, sponsored by Sen.
Carol Ronen, D-Chicago, and Rep. Connie Howard, D-Chicago, carries
serious consequences for those who violate the act. If an employer
fails to provide 60 days' notice, then the employer is liable for
the wages and benefits that would have been earned by the employees
in that 60-day time period. Additionally, the Illinois Department of
Labor may levy a civil penalty up to $500 for each day of the
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"Workers who have job security and are
afforded the opportunity to plan for their futures are more loyal to
their employers and more productive. With the 60-day notice
requirement, employees, employers and the state can work together to
try and prevent closures and mass layoffs. It allows for time to
plan for the future and allows for an adjustment period in the event
there are mass layoffs," said Gov. Blagojevich.
Under the law, employees who were not
provided notice, and consequently not paid for the full 60 days, can
file claims with the Illinois Department of Labor. The Illinois
Department of Labor can then conduct an investigation, have
administrative hearings on the matter and render a judgment.
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act becomes effective
on Jan. 1, 2005.
[News release from the