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Dislocated workers/major layoffs FAQ

What’s a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice? Can I be informed about these notices?
A. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to provide workers 60 days’ advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff. In general, employers are covered by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act if they have 100 or more employees and are laying off at least one-third of their work force. The Employment Security Department administers the WARN Act system in Washington. If you wish to be notified about all WARN notices filed with Employment Security, you can sign up for our automated e-mail list.  Reporters may email ESDGPMedia@ESD.WA.GOV with questions about layoffs in Washington.

Q. How does Rapid Response work?
A. Rapid Response normally begins with one of the following actions:  Employment Security’s Dislocated-Worker Unit is notified about an impending layoff or plant closure, as required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

An employer voluntarily notifies its local workforce development council, WorkSource office, unemployment-insurance claims center, local Rapid Response team, or the Dislocated-Worker Unit about an impending event. 

The Dislocated-Worker Unit becomes aware of such an event through public notices and other sources.

A new petition for federal Trade Act Adjustment Assistance is filed with the state Dislocated-Worker Unit.

Q. What is a dislocated worker? Is it anyone who loses his or her job through a major layoff?
A. In general, a dislocated worker is an individual who has been laid off, is eligible for unemployment insurance, and is unlikely to return to his or her previous occupation or industry due to foreign competition or technological change. Not all employees affected by a major layoff will be dislocated workers. They might have job skills that are in demand and can return to work in their previous industry or occupation.

Q. What’s the maximum amount of time a dislocated worker can receive unemployment-insurance benefits?
A. Like other laid-off workers, dislocated workers are eligible for up to 26 weeks of "regular" unemployment-insurance benefits and any extended-benefits programs that maybe available during high unemployment. These benefits can be combined with an additional 26 weeks for income support for dislocated workers who are enrolled in an approved training plan.