On January 27, the Iowa House passed HF 681, known as the "Iowa Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act".
There is already a Federal WARN Act, which requires most employers with 100 or more employees to provide at least 60 days notice to their employees of a mass layoff or plant shutdown. Failure to file the WARN Act requirements can result in liability for back pay and benefits for each affected employee, for the time of the violation, up to 60 days.
The proposed Iowa law is more stringent than the federal law is some respects, but more lenient in others. It is more stringent in that is applies to employers with 25 or more employees. It is more lenient, however, in that is requires only 30 days notice of a mass layoff or shutdown. In addition, the penalties under the Iowa law are limited to $100 per day for each day of the violation. There is no private right of action; the law is enforced by the Department of Work Force Development.
The bill has not passed the Iowa Senate, nor has the Governor stated publicly whether he will sign it. Organized labor is strongly in favor of the bill. However, given the difficult economic conditions that still exist in the State, and the Governor up for a tough re-election fight, it remains uncertain whether this bill will become law. We will keep you posted.