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Jul 30, 2012 7:28 PM by Matt Stafford

Labor Dept. says no need for warning on layoffs

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Labor Department says federal contractors do not have to warn their employees about potential layoffs from across-the-board budget cuts Jan. 2.

A guidance letter sent Monday says it would be "inappropriate" for employers to send such warnings because it is still speculative if and where the $110 billion in automatic cuts might occur. Half would be in defense.

The letter comes days after a Pentagon official said Defense Department contractors could be sending layoff notices four days before the Nov. 6 presidential election. That prospect has unnerved the White House.

The GOP chairman of House Armed Services Committee says the new guidance is politically motivated. Rep. Buck McKeon says the administration is preventing workers from being told their jobs are at risk.

Lawmakers are trying to avert the cuts.

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