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More companies required to give 60-day layoff notice     Send a link to a friend

Affected Illinois company size reduced to 75 employees

[AUG. 16, 2004]  CHICAGO -- 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 employer's violation.


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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.

The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2005.

[News release from the governor's office]

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