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Register August 2005 No. 596
Chapter DWD 279
BUSINESS CLOSING AND MASS LAYOFF
DWD 279.001 Purpose.
DWD 279.002 Interpretation.
DWD 279.01 Definitions and scope.
DWD 279.02 Employer notice.
DWD 279.03 Who must receive notice.
DWD 279.04 When employer notice must be given.
DWD 279.05 Extension of notice.
DWD 279.06 Content of employer notice.
DWD 279.07 Posting of notice.
DWD 279.08 Exceptions.
DWD 279.09 Applicability.
DWD 279.10 Complaint.
DWD 279.11 Reviews.
DWD 279.12 Referrals.
DWD 279.13 Records and inspections.
Ch. DWD 279 Note Note: Chapter Ind 79 was renumbered chapter ILHR 279 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., Register, February, 1996, No. 482. Chapter ILHR 279 was renumbered chapter DWD 279 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections were made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register, May, 1997, No. 497.
DWD 279.001 DWD 279.001 Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to implement s. 109.07, Stats., which provides remedies for an employer's failure to provide notice of a business closing or mass layoff in certain cases. The chapter provides criteria for exceptions and is designed to aid the administration and enforcement of the law.
DWD 279.001 History History: Cr. Register, March, 1991, No. 423, eff. 4-1-91.
DWD 279.002 DWD 279.002 Interpretation. Whenever possible, this chapter will be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 USC 2101, et seq., the federal regulations and court decisions interpreting that Act to the extent that the provisions of federal and state law are the same.
DWD 279.002 History History: Cr. Register, March, 1991, No. 423, eff. 4-1-91; correction made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats, Register, April, 2001, No. 544.
DWD 279.01 DWD 279.01 Definitions and scope.
DWD 279.01(1) (1) When used in this chapter or in s. 109.07, Stats.:
DWD 279.01(1)(a) (a) "Affected employee" has the meaning specified in s. 109.07 (1) (a), Stats. An employee that suffers loss of employment is an affected employee if that loss is the result of an employment termination (other than a discharge for cause, voluntary departure or retirement), a layoff exceeding 6 months or a reduction in hours of work of more than 50% during each month of any 6-month period. An affected employee does not include an employee discharged for cause or employees who terminate their employment as a result of retirement or voluntary departure. Business partners as well as consultant or contract employees who are paid by another employer or are self employed are not affected employees of the business to which they are assigned.
DWD 279.01(1)(b) (b) "Business closing" has the meaning specified in s. 109.07 (1) (b), Stats.
DWD 279.01(1)(c) (c) "Department" means the department of workforce development.
DWD 279.01(1)(d) (d) "Employer" has the meaning specified in s. 109.07 (1) (d), Stats., but does not include the federal or state government or any of their political subdivisions. Charitable or tax-exempt institutions and organizations are also not included. Independent contractors and wholly or partially owned subsidiaries that are independent from the parent corporation are considered separate employers for the purposes of this section.
DWD 279.01(1)(e) (e) "Employment site" as used in s. 109.07, Stats. means a single location or group of locations within the same municipality or reasonable geographic proximity that share the same or related staff or operational purpose. Employment sites that have separate workforces, separate management, or produce different products are separate employment sites.
DWD 279.01(1)(f) (f) "Facilities" as used in s. 109.07 (1) (b), Stats., means a building or buildings.
DWD 279.01(1)(g) (g) "Mass layoff" has the meaning specified in s. 109.07 (1) (f), Stats.
DWD 279.01(1)(h) (h) "Municipality" means a city, town or village.
DWD 279.01(1)(i) (i) "New or low hour employee" has the meaning specified in s. 109.07 (1) (h), Stats.
DWD 279.01(1)(j) (j) "Operating units" as used in s. 109.07 (1) (b), Stats., means an organizationally or operationally distinct operation or specific work function within or across facilities at an employment site. Only distinct structural or operational entities within an employment site are intended to be included as"operating units."
DWD 279.01(1)(k) (k) "Persons" as used in s. 109.07 (1) (d), Stats., does not include new or low-hour employees.
DWD 279.01(1)(L) (L) "Substantially all" as used in s. 109.07 (6) (a) and (b), Stats., means that number of an employers affected employees who if hired or offered transfer, will make the total number of affected employees experiencing a loss of employment, as determined by the department on a case by case basis less than the thresholds for a "business closing" or "mass layoff" as defined in s. 109.07 (1) (b) or (f), Stats.
DWD 279.01 History History: Cr. Register, March, 1991, No. 423, eff. 4-1-91.
DWD 279.02 DWD 279.02 Employer notice.
DWD 279.02(1)(1) An employer who has decided upon a business closing or mass layoff in this state shall provide written notice of the closing or mass layoff to the department, any affected employee, any collective bargaining representative of any affected employee and the highest official of any municipality in which the affected employment site is located.
DWD 279.02 Note Note: An employer shall notify the department of a business closing or mass layoff by providing written notice delivered to the Dislocated Workers Unit, Department of workforce development, P.O. Box 7972, Madison, Wisconsin 53707.
DWD 279.02(2)(a)(a) In the case of the sale of part or all of a business the exception in s. 109.07 (6) (a), Stats., may apply. If that exception does not apply and if notice is required, the seller shall provide notice of any business closing or mass layoff that occurs up to the effective date of sale, and the buyer is responsible for providing notice of any business closing or mass layoff that takes place thereafter. If termination or layoff takes place on the sale's effective date, notice to affected employees not hired by the buyer in connection with the sale is the responsibility of the buyer.
DWD 279.02(2)(b) (b) Not withstanding the allocation of responsibility for notice in par. (a), a buyer and seller may issue notices jointly or as agents of one another. Buyers and sellers also may enter into private agreements which address their respective rights and notice obligations under this subsection.
DWD 279.02(2)(c) (c) If notice is not given as required by par. (a), the employer required to give notice shall be liable for penalties under s. 109.07 (3) and (4m), Stats.
DWD 279.02 History History: Cr. Register, March, 1991, No. 423, eff. 4-1-91.
DWD 279.03 DWD 279.03 Who must receive notice.
DWD 279.03(1) (1) An employer shall provide notice to all affected employees that may reasonably be expected to lose employment as a result of a business closing or mass layoff. If at the time the notice is given, the employer is unable to identify which employee will lose employment due to elimination of a particular position, notice shall be provided to the employee currently holding that position.
DWD 279.03(2) (2) An employer shall notify the collective bargaining representative of an affected employee by providing written notice to that employee's local bargaining agent or the chief elected officer of the employee's exclusive bargaining agent.
DWD 279.03(3) (3) An employer shall notify the affected municipality of the business closing or mass layoff by providing written notice to the mayor of a city, town board chairman or village president. In the case of cities organized under a city manager plan, notice shall be delivered to the president of the city council and city manager. For villages organized under a city manager plan, notice shall be delivered to the president of the village board of trustees and the village manager.
DWD 279.03 History History: Cr. Register, March, 1991, No. 423, eff. 4-1-91.
DWD 279.04 DWD 279.04 When employer notice must be given.
DWD 279.04(1)(1) An employer who has decided upon a business closing or mass layoff in this state shall provide written notice of such action no later than 60 calendar days prior to the date that the closing or layoff occurs. The department shall, upon complaint, determine whether notice is required or should have been provided.
DWD 279.04(2)(a)(a) An employer is not required to provide notice as required in this section unless affected employees lose employment in sufficient number on a particular date to meet the definition of business closing or mass layoff. However, subject to par. (c), 2 or more groups of employees who are affected during a 90-day period may be considered in the aggregate in order to determine whether the business closing or mass layoff thresholds have been met, unless the loss of employment in different groups are the result of separate and distinct actions and causes. In order to be considered in the aggregate, each group of employees affected by a reduction in the workforce on different dates must, by itself, be insufficient to trigger notice obligations.
DWD 279.04(2)(b) (b) For the purpose of this subsection successive layoffs or terminations that result from different events are separate and distinct actions and causes. Successive layoffs or reductions in the workforce caused by ongoing unfavorable business conditions are separate and distinct if the employer had a reasonable basis for believing that the subsequent reduction would not necessarily follow from the earlier reduction or reductions.
DWD 279.04(2)(c) (c) The department shall consider, subject to par. (a), a series of layoffs that are related and conducted by the employer with the intent to evade the notice requirements of s. 109.07, Stats. as failure to give timely notice.
DWD 279.04(2)(d) (d) The department shall consider permanent or routine notice given by an employer with the intent to evade the requirements of s. 109.07, Stats., as failure to give timely notice.
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