What Is the 'Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)'

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a U.S. labor law that offers protection to workers, workers' families and communities by requiring certain employers to give a 60-day advance notice of any plant closings or mass layoffs. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act covers private, for-profit employers, and private, non-profit employers with 100 or more employees.

Employees who have worked fewer than six of the previous 12 months and employees who work less than 20 hours per week on average are not included in the employee count.

BREAKING DOWN 'Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)'

Managers, supervisors, salaried and hourly wage workers are entitled to receive a 60-day advance notice of plant closings or mass layoffs through WARN. The act is intended to provide workers and their families the opportunity to adjust to the forthcoming loss of employment, to enter skill-training programs, or look for other employment. Workers who are participating in strikes or who have been locked out in labor disputes, as well as regular federal, state and local government employees are not protected by the act.

WARN is not activated if the plant closing or mass layoff affects fewer than 50 workers at a single employment site or if 50-499 workers lose their jobs but that number is less than one third of the total workforce at a single location. WARN is also not activated if the layoff is for six months or less. Penalties may apply if an employer violates the WARN Act.

Employers may not be required to give 60-day advance notice in the event of unforeseeable business circumstances or if the closing or mass layoff is due to a natural disaster such as flooding or fire.

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