Wyatt Employment Law Report


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President Obama Details Possible Cuts to Federal Spending under Budget Control Act of 2011

By Edwin S. Hopson

On September 14, 2012, the President’s Office of Management and Budget released a report on what the estimated impact of sequestration pursuant to Sequestration Transparency Act, as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, would be on January 2, 2013, should the Congress not agree upon a budget or otherwise intervene prior to that time.  According to the report, it is estimated that, among other things, there would be a 9.4% cut in non-exempt defense discretionary spending and a 8.2% decrease in non-defense, non-exempt discretionary funding.  The nearly 400 page report details plans for cuts federal government spending amounting to some $1.2 trillion dollars.

In Appendix A to the report, the following agency cuts in selected labor/employment sectors are as follows:

U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division: $19 million

Occupational Safety and Health Administration: $46 million

Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission: $1 million

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs: $9 million

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: $30 million

National Labor Relations Board: $23 million

These cuts, if implemented, would undoubtedly have significant impacts on these agencies.  It is assumed that each agency is preparing or has prepared contingency plans to deal with any such reductions in funding.


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Would the WARN Act Apply in the Event of a Federal Budget Sequestration?

By Edwin S. Hopson

On July 30, 2012, an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor issued an advisory and guidance to federal contractors concerning the applicability of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) to possible layoffs occasioned by federal government sequestration on January 2, 2013, under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, and the Budget Control Act of 2011, should the Congress and President not come to agreement on a federal budget.  That guidance was “no” — the WARN Act would not be triggered by such action and affected, covered federal contractors would not be in violation of the WARN Act for NOT providing 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs or a plant closing affecting at least 50 employees.

The issuance of this guidance has been criticized by the Republican House Education and Workforce Chairman, John Kline, and the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Chairman, Tim Walberg, in a letter to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.  They argue that the Department of Labor’s guidance has no legal effect and may be misleading employers into not following the WARN Act’s requirements.

With the recent agreement on a short-term budget extension, this issue has now been pushed off for several months.

The Labor Department’s guidance can be found at: 

http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/TEGL/TEGL_3a_12.pdf

The Kline/Walberg letter may be found at:

http://edworkforce.house.gov/UploadedFiles/08-02-12_Letter_WARN_Act_Sequestration.pdf