Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) overview
In 1988, Congress passed the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. It is commonly referred to as a WARN notice. It provides workers with sufficient time to prepare for the transition between the jobs they currently hold and new jobs.
This transition may involve the sharing information about where new jobs may be found, or it may involve providing workers with other employment or retraining opportunities before they lose their jobs.
The MassHire Department of Career Services' Rapid Response Team responds when a business submits a WARN notice and initiates its layoff aversion and/or layoff management and outplacement services.
Employer obligations under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
It is important for employers to understand their obligations under WARN.
Certain mass layoffs and closings will meet the criteria of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. In some cases, employers are required to provide 60 days’ notice to the MassHire Rapid Response Team, the chief elected official of the local government where the closing or mass layoff is to occur, and their employees before a layoff. Filing a WARN on time may prevent a class-action lawsuit from being filed against your company.
A WARN filing is required to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice when employers with 100 or more* full-time employees plan a workforce reduction that meet one or more of the following:
- A worksite closing that will affect 50 or more employees
- A mass layoff that will affect at least 50 employees and one-third of the worksite’s total workforce
- 500 or more employees at the single site of employment
If within a 90-day period you anticipate that there will be separate employment losses at a single site of employment that together add up to the minimum to trigger a WARN, file a notice.
When a business notifies the Rapid Response team of a layoff, it often invites representatives to meet with and help the employees who will be laid off.
*This does not count workers who have fewer than 6 months on the job.
Providing notice of layoffs and filing a WARN
If you are ready to submit your WARN notice, email firstname.lastname@example.org and attach your notice.
Your notice should contain:
- The name and address where the mass layoff or plant closing is to occur, along with the name and telephone number of a company contact person who can provide additional information
- An explanation of whether the employment loss will be temporary or permanent, and whether the entire plant is being closed
- The expected date of the first job losses, along with a schedule of any further employment reductions
- The job titles of positions that will be affected and the number of affected employees in each job category
- A statement of bumping rights, if any exist
- The name of each union/employee representative and the name and address of the chief elected officer of each union
The WARN regulations also allow employers to provide alternative notice to the MassHire Rapid Response Team and the chief local elected official. However, more detailed information may need to be provided upon request. The alternative form must be a written notice that provides the following information:
- The name and address of the employment site where the plant closing or mass layoff will occur
- The name and telephone number of a company official to contact for further information
- The expected date of separation
- The number of affected employees
The MassHire Rapid Response Team created sample WARNs to help businesses fulfill these obligations. Download one or all of the following samples:
- Sample WARN letter for one-time layoffs for businesses with non-union employees
- Sample WARN letter for one-time layoffs for businesses with union employees
- Sample WARN letter for staggered layoffs for business with union employees
- Sample WARN letter for staggered layoffs for businesses with non-union employees
Download the United States Department of Labor's Employer’s Guide to Advance Notice of Closings and Layoff for the most up-to-date information.
WARN Act and additional information
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, Public Law 100-379 (29 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq.)
- United States Department of Labor Employer’s Guide to Advance Notice of Closings and Layoff
- Elaws Advisor helps you understand your rights and responsibilities under the employment laws and regulations, such as the WARN Act, administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). Each Advisor imitates the interaction you might have with a DOL employment law expert—it asks questions and provides answers based on your responses.
- United States Department of Labor Worker's Guide to Advance Notice of Closings and Layoffs
- The MassHire Rapid Response Team works with businesses and unions to provide information on the Trade Adjustment Act and the benefits if the layoffs are a result of foreign trade. Businesses, Rapid Response Team representatives, or workers can file a trade petition with the United States Department of Labor.