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.

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