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What is the WARN act and who does it protect?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Employment Law

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act protects employees from some of the pain caused by mass layoffs. Under the act, employers must give employees a written notice at least 60 days before mass layoffs or plant closures. However, your company must meet several criteria to gain protection from the act.

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the WARN act protects workers at companies with 100 or more full-time employees. This excludes employees who work less than 20 hours per week and those with less than six months of employment at the company.

Additional WARN situations

Besides mass layoffs, you must also receive a WARN notice for reducing hours by more than half or if the company lays you off for more than six months. The WARN act does not apply to employees discharged for cause who retire or voluntarily quit.

In the notice, your employer must include whether the layoff is temporary or permanent. They must also include the layoff date and separation date. The separation date must be within a 14-day period your employer discloses. The WARN notice must occur 60 days before the first day of the 14-day separation period.

Excluded workers

WARN excludes employees under certain conditions. WARN does not protect:

  • Consultants, contract employees or business partners who receive payment from another employer or are self-employed
  • Strikers and employees not able to work due to labor disputes
  • Temporary workers with knowledge of their limited employment status
  • State, federal or local government workers

There is more to the WARN Act than this article can cover. Contact your union representative or human resources department to learn more about your WARN rights.