Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN)
Information for Employers
The California WARN Act requires covered employers to provide advance notice to employees affected by plant closings and mass layoffs. Covered employers should continue to file a WARN even if you cannot meet the 60-day timeframe due to COVID-19.
For questions regarding the California WARN law, contact the Department of Industrial Relations.
- WARN Overview
- How Do I File a WARN Notice?
- What Happens After an Employer Files a WARN Notice? (Rapid Response Teams)
- Form and Content of Notice
- Listing of Filed WARN Notices
- General Provisions of the Federal and California WARN Laws
- Contact the WARN Act Coordinator
Per Chapter 4, Part 4, Sections 1400-1408 of the Labor Code, WARN protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring that employers give a 60-day notice to the affected employees and both state and local representatives prior to a plant closing or mass layoff. Advance notice provides employees and their families time to transition and adjust to the prospective loss of employment, time to seek alternative jobs and, if necessary, time to obtain skills training or retraining to successfully compete in the job market. For more information, visit WARN Frequently Asked Questions.
How Do I File a WARN Notice?
When notifying employees prior to a plant closing or mass layoff, any reasonable method of delivery that ensures receipt of notice at least 60 days before is acceptable (e.g., first class mail, personal delivery with optional signed receipt, etc.). Insertion of notice into pay envelopes is another viable option; however, a ticketed or preprinted notice regularly included in each employee’s paycheck or pay envelope does not meet the requirements.
Your Local Workforce Development Areas (Local Areas) will assist you in contacting the chief elected officials in those communities affected by the planned layoff or closure. Visit the Local Area listing by county for more information.
To file a WARN notice, email email@example.com. With the email, provide the following:
The notification (as an attachment or within the body of the email) and contact information in the event that more information is needed. Attachments should be compatible with Microsoft Office or Adobe Reader software. Employer may request acknowledgment of the receipt of their notification by adding the request to the email. Please include the name of the employer in the subject of the email.
What Happens After an Employer Files a WARN Notice?
(Rapid Response Teams)
The EDD has established Rapid Response Teams to assist employers and workers during a mass layoff or plant closing. These teams, facilitated through America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC) locations, are a cooperative effort between the Local Area and the EDD. This team disseminates information about the adult and dislocated worker services available under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and through the AJCC, and Unemployment Insurance programs. If the dislocation is the result of foreign competition or foreign relocation, the dislocated worker may be eligible for assistance, income support, job search assistance/relocation, and/or training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program.
Form and Content of Notice
The content of WARN notices delivered to required parties is listed in Title 20 Code of Federal Regulations Section 639.7. There is no prescribed form to file a WARN.
All notices must be submitted in writing to the EDD and the chief elected official of the local government, and must include the following:
- Name and address of the employment site where the plant closing or mass layoff will occur.
- Name and phone number of a company official to contact for further information.
- Statement as to whether the planned action is expected to be permanent or temporary and, if the entire plant is to be closed.
- Expected date of the first separation, and the anticipated schedule for subsequent separations.
- Job titles of positions to be affected, and the number of employees to be laid off in each job classification.
- For multiple lay-off locations, provide a breakdown of the number of affected employees and their job titles by each lay-off location.
- Indication as to whether or not bumping rights exist.
- Name of each union representing affected employees.
- Name and address of the chief elected officer of each union.
Listing of Filed WARN Notices
On a continuous basis, the EDD expeditiously processes WARN notices filed by employers and notifies the Local Area, as well as other local government entities, of reported layoffs. Also, the processing of a WARN notice activates the local Rapid Response team.
The WARN reports are generated by the CalJOBSSM system and cover the basic information on notices the EDD receives, including dates, company name, city, number of employees affected and type of closure/layoff. For detailed information on a specific WARN record, please submit a Public Records Act request through the EDD’s Ask EDD page by selecting the Public Records Request category.
2019-2020 WARN Report (PDF): WARN notices processed from July 1, 2019 through March 25, 2020.
Listing of WARN Notices from previous years:
- 2018-2019 WARN Report from July 01, 2018 through June 30, 2019 (PDF)
- 2017-2018 WARN Report from July 01, 2017 through June 30, 2018 (PDF)
- 2016-2017 WARN Report from July 01, 2016 through June 30, 2017 (PDF)
- 2015-2016 WARN Report from July 01, 2015 through June 30, 2016 (PDF)
- 2014-2015 WARN Report from July 01, 2014 through June 30, 2015 (PDF)
Disclaimer: Employers self-report to EDD the information contained on the posted WARN reports and, it is the latest available data at the time the layoff and closure reports are posted.
Note: WARN reports are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). You may need to download the free Adobe Reader to view and print linked documents.
General Provisions of the Federal and California WARN Laws
Below is a side-by-side chart that provides the general parameters of the law:
|Category||Federal WARN||California WARN|
|Covered Employers||Applicable only to employers with 100 or more full-time employees who must have been employed for at least 6 months of the 12 months preceding the date of required notice in order to be counted. (29 USC 2101 and 20 CFR 639.3)||Applicable to a “covered establishment” that employs or has employed in the preceding 12 months, 75 or more full and part-time employees. As under the federal WARN, employees must have been employed for at least 6 months of the 12 months preceding the date of required notice in order to be counted. [California Labor Code Section 1400 (a) and (h)]|
|Plant Closing or Layoff Requiring Notice||Plant closings involving 50 or more employees during a 30-day period. Layoffs within a 30-day period involving 50 to 499 full-time employees constituting at least 33% of the full-time workforce at a single site of employment. Layoffs of 500 or more are covered regardless of percentage of workforce. (29 USC, et seq., 2101 and 20 CFR 639.3)||Plant closure affecting any amount of employees. Layoff of 50 or more employees within a 30-day period regardless of % of workforce. Relocation of at least 100 miles affecting any amount of employees. [California Labor Code Section 1400 (d)-(f)]|
|Legal Jurisdiction||Enforcement of WARN requirements through United States district courts. The court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs. (29 USC 2101, et seq)||Suit may be brought in “any court of competent jurisdiction”. The court may award reasonable attorney’s fees as part of costs to any prevailing plaintiff. The California WARN law is in the Labor Code and the authority to investigate through the examination of books and records is delegated to the Labor Commissioner. (California Labor Code Sections 1404 and 1406)|
|Employer Liability||An employer who violates the WARN provisions is liable to each employee for an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the period of the violation, up to 60 days, but no more than half the number of days the employee was employed by the employer. [29 USC; 2104 (a)].||A possible civil penalty of $500 a day for each day of violation. Employees may receive back pay to be paid at employee’s final rate or 3 year average rate of compensation, whichever is higher. In addition, employer is liable for cost of any medical expenses incurred by employees that would have been covered under an employee benefit plan. The employer is liable for period of violation up to 60 days or one-half the number of days the employee was employed whichever period is smaller. (California Labor Code Section 1403)|
|Notice Requirements||An Employer must provide written notice 60-days prior to a plant closing or mass layoff to employees or their representative, the State dislocated worker unit (the Employment Development Department, Workforce Services Division in California), and the chief elected official of local government within which such closing or layoff is to occur. (29 USC, 2102; 20 CFR 639.5)||An employer must give notice 60-days prior to a plant closing, layoff or relocation. In addition to the notifications required under federal WARN, notice must also be given to the Local Workforce Development Board, and the chief elected official of each city and county government within which the termination, relocation or mass layoff occurs. (California Labor Code Section 1401)|
|Exceptions and Exemptions to Notice Requirements||Regular Federal, State, local and federally recognized Indian tribal governments are not covered.
(29 USC, 2102 (a); 20 CFR 639.3)
The following situations are exempt from notice:
There is an offer to transfer employee to a different site within a reasonable commuting distance.
(29 USC, 2101 (b) (2); 20 CFR 639.5)
The closure is due to unforeseeable business circumstances, a natural disaster.
(29 USC, 2103; 20 CFR 639.9)
The closing or layoff constitutes a strike or constitutes a lockout not intended to evade the requirement of this chapter.
[29 USC, 2103 (2)]
|California WARN does not apply when the closing or layoff is the result of the completion of a particular project or undertaking of an employer subject to Wage Orders 11, 12 or 16, regulating the Motion Picture Industry, or Construction, Drilling, Logging and Mining Industries, and the employees were hired with the understanding that their employment was limited to the duration of that project or undertaking.
[California Labor Code Section 1400 (g)]
The notice requirements do not apply to employees involved in seasonal employment where the employees were hired with the understanding that their employment was seasonal and temporary.
[California Labor Code Section 1400 (g)(2)]
Notice is not required if a mass layoff, relocation or plant closure is necessitated by a physical calamity or act of war.
[California Labor Code Section 1401 (c)]
Notice of a relocation or termination is not required where, under multiple and specific conditions, the employer submits documents to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the DIR determines that the employer was actively seeking capital or business, and a WARN notice would have precluded the employer from obtaining the capital or business. (California Labor Code Section 1402.5) This exception does not apply to notice of a mass layoff as defined in California Labor Code Section 1400 (d).
[California Labor Code Section 1402.5 (d)]
Contact the WARN Act Coordinator
For more information about WARN-related services, please contact the Employment Development Department, Workforce Services Division, WARN Act Coordinator at 916-654-7799 or WARNNotice@edd.ca.gov; or your designated Local Workforce Development Areas. For Public Records Act (PRA) requests, please submit them through the EDD’s Ask EDD page by selecting the Public Records Request category. For all media inquiries, please contact the EDD’s Communications Office at 916-654-9029, or by email at EDDMediaInquiries@edd.ca.gov. WARN requests will be processed within 10 business days from receipt date of the request.
Issues regarding the enforcement of the California WARN law should be directed to the Department of Industrial Relations.
The Department of Labor (DOL) publication entitled A Guide to Advance Notice of Closings and Layoffs provides additional information about the Federal WARN Act.