The Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988

The Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (the “WARN Act”) is a US labor law which protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60 calendar-day advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs of employees, as defined in the Act. In 2001, there were about 2,000 mass layoffs and plant closures which were subject to WARN advance notice requirements and which affected about 660,000 employees. [1]

Certain conditions apply as to what companies are covered by this act; what employees are covered; and what conditions are necessary for this act to be engaged.  Click the [1] at the end of the paragraph above to go to the actual link.


The WARN Act is a federal law requiring employers of 100 or more full-time workers to give 60-days advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff.  This federal law applies to employers in the State of Connecticut. 

Employers with 100 or more full-time workers are affected if they: 

  • close a facility or discontinue an operating unit with 50 or more workers; or    
  • lay off 50-499 workers (and these workers comprise at least 33% of the total workforce at a single site of employment); or
  • lay off 500 or more workers at a single site of employment.

The law requires that this notification be given to the appropriate local chief elected official, the Dislocated Worker Unit of the State Department of Labor, and the collective bargaining representative of affected employees or each employee if the employees do not have such representation. 

Generally, WARN covers employers with 100 or more employees, not including:

  • employees who have worked less than six (6) months in the last 12 months, and
  • employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week.

Employers must provide the WARN notice to all employees, including managers and supervisors.

Each state will follow the Federal law; some have created additions to these laws and are specific to that state only.

To read more about the WARN Act, see below.

List of WARN Notices by State – Is YOUR company on this list?

Interesting to note the following from Delaware Warn Act, according to HR Daily Advisor, which goes above & beyond the Federal WARN Act:
  • “The Delaware WARN Act requires that employers give advance notice of a “relocation,” which isn’t an event that triggers notice requirements under the federal WARN Act. The term “relocation” is defined as the removal of all or substantially all an employer’s industrial or commercial operations to a different location 50 miles or more away that results in a layoff.
Watch for this type of inclusion/exclusion in the DOL WARN Act and/or individual state labor departments.
We welcome your thoughts & opinions.

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