A layoff is difficult for everyone. The Rapid Response program provides a variety of services to employers and their employees when it becomes necessary to downsize.
These services focus on ensuring that affected employees are aware of Unemployment Insurance, childcare assistance, health insurance, available assistance in finding a new job or retraining for a new occupation, and help that is available at their local Workforce Oklahoma Center. In the case of a major decline in company staffing, job fairs are often provided for affected workers.
Tools and Resources for Transitioning to Your Next Job
Recently lost your job? This handbook gives you the tools and resources you need to get back on your feet. It is also used in Rapid Response sessions.
Herramientas y recursos para hacer la transición hacia su nuevo empleo Guía en Español
Rapid Response activities are designed to respond quickly to employer, employee and community needs when a layoff and/or plant closure appears imminent. The objective of Rapid Response is to help workers transition from notification of layoff to re-employment as quickly as possible.
Workforce Reduction Regulations
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act — Helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and layoffs. The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a series of guides to provide employers and workers with an overview of their rights and responsibilities under the provision of the WARN Act.
The WARN Act is a federal law which requires employers to provide advance notification to workers when faced with a plant closing or layoff. With this early notice, workers and their families are provided transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain other employment, and through assistance provided by the Local Workforce Oklahoma Centers, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow those workers to successfully compete in the job market.
What does WARN Require?
Generally speaking WARN requires that employers with 100 or more full-time workers give employees 60 days notice in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs if they:
- Close a facility of 50 or more workers
- Discontinue an operating unit of 50 or more workers
- Lay off 50 to 499 workers, and these layoffs constitute 33% of the total work force at a single employment site
- Lay off 500 or more workers at a single employment site
Although some businesses are exempt from WARN, the law encourages all employers to give workers sufficient notice, to the extent possible.
Who must receive notice?
Notice must be given to:
- Each employee to be laid off, or the employee’s union representative, if represented by a union or unions,
- the chief elected official of the unit of local government where the closing is occurring,
- the state’s rapid response coordinator.
Send WARN notice or make inquiries to:
Employer Workforce Services and
State Rapid Response Coordinator
Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development
900 N. Portland
Oklahoma City, OK 73107
Phone Number: 405-945-9195
Tips for Employers
Because layoffs are often part of weathering a lackluster economy and aren’t necessarily permanent, employers who manage their workforce reductions well can expect to improve their organization’s image, productivity, profits, and staff morale. Here are some tips to consider if your company finds itself facing potential layoffs:
- Tell employees the bad news in complete detail as soon as you know it. Most executive teams fear mass panic and walk outs. However, this is not usually the case. Anxiety will be high no matter what you do so it’s best to respect employees’ intelligence and address the worst case scenario far in advance of the possible event.
- Speak to people face-to-face. Firing people over the phone, with a memo, or an e-mail message leaves a negative and lasting impression on the employees being terminated as well as the ones remaining—the ones you now need the most.
- Instead of pep talks that fall flat, outline and detail the reasons behind the actions your company must take. Share the facts — not platitudes.
- Don’t abruptly bounce employees out the door. Allow people to say good-bye to coworkers, business partners, and customers. Let them stay after work to pack up their personal belongings. Extending these courtesies reduces resentment and often allows coworkers and their immediate supervisors to transition projects and key accounts to the remaining staff.
- Don’t assume the rest of the employees are grateful just to have their jobs. The remaining employees identify with those laid off. Morale and productivity may drop if those laid off haven’t been treated fairly and given company support, which includes severance packages and outplacement services.
- Typical severance packages average two weeks of pay with an additional week for each year worked.
- Common outplacement offerings include resume writing, job searching, interview skills, group workshops, and one-on-one coaching.
- After a few weeks, start discussing the downsizing as a step toward a more efficient, competitive, and profitable business. Look for ways to streamline the work so the remaining employees aren’t overwhelmed. Discuss future career moves with the remaining employees to identify areas for additional training and support.
- Services—most of which are offered without cost to the employer or employee—include helping companies set up outplacement services for dislocated workers, handling media relations, managing the internal rumor mill, meeting governmental reporting requirements, understanding their rights and responsibilities under employment laws and regulations, and planning how to avoid avoid future layoffs.