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Rapid Response

Rapid Response is a program to assist workers facing job loss due to downsizing or closures. When an employer must lay off workers, there are several steps to take in order to address the needs of the affected workers and the community. The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) can advise and assist employers with information about their rights, responsibilities, and obligations during such an event. The goal of the program is to safeguard the economic stability of workers and the surrounding community. The MDOL Bureaus of Labor Standards, Employment Services, and Unemployment Compensation will work together to provide the support and information necessary for employers to act promptly and with confidence.

Community Assistance

A sudden downsizing or closure of a business can be a devastating blow to the affected
community and surrounding regions. Many communities in Maine have faced such a situation. Those who have managed the crisis with the most success are those who respond early and pull together as a community. Forming a local Community Transition Team has been an extremely helpful step in some communities. The activities of a Community Transition Team can complement the services and activities available from the State of Maine. Many partners can participate, including: MDOL, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, community action programs, adult education providers, Local Workforce Investment Boards, town and city officials, local business officials, labor organizations, chambers of commerce, food pantries, faith-based entities, and others. Representatives of such organizations or groups should be invited to participate in the community response to the downsizing or closure, and each should be encouraged to offer various types of assistance.

Did you know?

If a company has 100 or more workers and cuts its workforce by 50 employees, federal and state law may require that the employer must give at least 60 days notice to its employees, local elected officials, organized labor leadership (if applicable) and the Maine Department of Labor.


Workers who lose their health insurance when they are laid off are usually entitled to continue their coverage for up to 18 months at their own expense. The employer should notify workers of their option of COBRA within two weeks of the termination of their employer-paid coverage. The employee has 60 days to decide whether or not he/she wants continued coverage, and another 45 days to begin making payments.

Unemployment Compensation

An individual, including a corporate officer, is considered unemployed in any week that wages are not payable and during which the individual does not perform services. Reduced unemployment benefits may be paid if the individual is working less than full-time and wages are not $25 or more than the individual’s weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount. For further information, go to MDOL Unemployment Benefits Web page.

Trade Adjustment Assistance

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federally-funded program designed to help dislocated workers prepare for new jobs through re-employment or retraining as necessary if the layoff or closure has been certified as caused by foreign competition. For more information about TAA assistance, visit the Trade Adjustment Assistance Web page.

Learn more

To find out more about the Rapid Response program, contact your local CareerCenter.

To speak with the statewide Rapid Response coordinator, call 207-623-7981 or 1-888-457-8883; TTY users call Maine Relay 711.