Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Plant closings are devastating for workers, their families and the communities in which they live. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("the WARN Act" or "WARN") requires some employers to give their workers sixty days' notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. The purpose of the WARN Act is to provide workers with time to seek alternative employment or retraining and to plan for the transition phase after the layoff.

The WARN Act does not prevent employers from closing a plant; instead it only requires larger employers to give notice, subject to a number of exceptions and exemptions. It is, however, the primary piece of federal legislation addressing the problem of plant closings and mass layoffs and, in some instances, the only source of rights that dislocated workers have.


Use is with the permission of Thomson Reuters. Originally published as Santacroce, David A. "The WARN ACT." In Employee and Union Member Guide to Labor Law: A Manual for Attorneys Representing the Labor Movement, by National Labor and Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild; edited by E.Gautier, vol. 2, 10-1 to 10-38. St. Paul, Minn.: Thomson/West, 1999-. (Santacroce continues to update the WARN Act chapter in this looseleaf work which began publication in 1981. This version circa June 2003)