Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN) Information for Employers

What is a WARN?

A WARN is a layoff notice from an employer. These notices provide protection to employees, their families and their communities by requiring 60 days’ notice of layoffs or plant closings, giving employees time to look for other work, file for unemployment or take care of other items that could be affected by their employment status.

When does an employer need to file a WARN?

In California, employers must file a WARN if they are a “covered establishment” with 75 or more employees (part-time or full-time). Employees must have been employed for at least 6 months of the 12-month period preceding the WARN date. Any plant closure or layoff that affects 50 or more workers within a 30-day period must be reported, regardless of the size of the company as a whole. Notification of layoffs and plant closures must occur at least 60 days in advance, or be subject to fines and worker compensation. Visit the Employment Development Department (EDD) WARN website for more detailed information regarding WARNs.

Employers should review both the Federal WARN law and the California WARN law for a full understanding of notification requirements. 

How does an employer file a WARN?

An employer must first notify employees of the upcoming layoff at least 60 days in advance of the layoff. Then, the employer must submit a WARN to the local Workforce Development Board, local elected officials (chief elected officials of the city and county governments in which the employer is located) and EDD. For a list of WARN recipients in San Diego County, click on the sample WARN notice below.

If a layoff is occurring in San Diego County, an employer must provide notice to the San Diego Workforce Partnership, which is the local Workforce Development Board for the region. Notification or questions can be sent to the Workforce Partnership’s Business Services team at business@workforce.org

For a list of WARN recipients throughout the state of California, click here.

What must be included in a WARN?

The contents of a WARN must include the following:

  • Name of business and address of affected employment site
  • Name, phone number and email of company official to contact for more information
  • Whether the layoff/closure will be permanent or temporary
  • The expected separation date and anticipated schedule of subsequent separations
  • Job titles of affected workers, and the number of affected workers in each classification
  • Whether bumping rights exist
  • The name/contact information of union representation/union official (if applicable)
  • For multiple affected locations, a breakdown of the number of affected workers and their job titles by each location

Click here to view a sample WARN notice.