As ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looms, Debate Over Pre-election Day Layoff Notices Heats Up

July 31, 2012

The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, companies and analysts say, and the warnings may start going out at a particularly sensitive time: Days before the presidential election.

By law, all but the smallest companies must notify their workforce at least 60 days in advance when they know of specific job cuts that are likely to happen.

Obama administration officials say that the threat of layoffs is overblown and that Republicans are playing up the possibility rather than trying to head it off. The Labor Department said Monday that it would be “inappropriate” for contractors to send out large-scale dismissal notices, because it is unclear whether the federal cuts will occur and how they would be carried out.

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