Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) requires an employer with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 days in advance of a planned plant closing or mass layoff. In determining whether an employer meets the 100-employee floor, only full-time employees are counted, unless part-time employees in the aggregate work at least 4,000 hours per week, in which case part-time employees are counted as well.

A mass layoff for WARN Act purposes is a layoff of at least 50 employees at a single site that amounts to at least 33 percent of the employees at that site. So, if an employer has 1,000 employees at a given site and lays off 100, that would not be a mass layoff.

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The 60-day notice must be given to the affected employees, to the state dislocated worker unit, and to the chief elected official of the local government where the plant closing or layoff is to occur.

The WARN Act recognizes that in some circumstances employers may not be able to give the requisite notice. The act’s unforeseeable business circumstances exception is applicable when a similarly situated employer exercising commercially reasonable business judgment would not have foreseen the closing. So long as an employer is exercising reasonable business judgment, the

employer will not be held liable under the WARN Act for failing to predict economic conditions that may affect demand for the organization’s products or services.