Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN)

WARN Act - Overview

WARN protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring employers to give a 60-day notice to the affected employees and both state and local representatives before a plant closing or mass layoff. Advance notice provides employees and their families time to transition and adjust to the potential 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.

Review WARN Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

How Do I File a WARN Notice?

When letting your employees know of a plant closing or mass layoff, any reasonable method of delivery that ensures receipt of notice at least 60 days before is acceptable. Examples include:

  • First class mail.
  • Personal delivery with optional signed receipt.
  • A notice in your employee’s pay envelope.
    • Note: 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 help you contact the chief elected officials in those communities affected by the planned layoff or closure.

You can find your Local Workforce Development Area Administrator in the Local Area listing.

Steps to File a WARN Notice

To file a WARN notice, email The email must include:

  • The name of the employer listed in the subject of the email.
  • The notification (as an attachment or within the body of the email).
  • Contact information in case we need more information.

Note: Attachments should be compatible with Microsoft Office or Adobe Reader software.

What Happens After an Employer Files a WARN Notice?

We have Rapid Response Teams to help employers and workers during a mass layoff or plant closing. The Rapid Response Teams are a combined effort between our staff and the Local Area team's services provided locally through America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM (AJCC).

Rapid Response Teams share information about the adult and dislocated worker services available:

  • Under Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
  • Through the AJCC
  • Through our Unemployment Insurance programs.

If worker dislocation is the result of foreign competition or foreign relocation, the dislocated worker may be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program, which can include:

  • Employment and case management services
  • Training benefits
  • Trade Readjustment Allowances
  • Job Search allowances
  • Relocation allowances
  • Alternative or Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance

What Should I Include in the WARN Notice?

There is no official form to file a WARN. You can find what must be included in a WARN notice delivered to your employees in Title 20 Code of Federal Regulations Section 639.7.

All notices must be submitted in writing to us and the chief elected official of the local government. You must include the following:

  • Name and address of the employment site where the plant closing or the mass layoff will occur.
  • Name and phone number of a company official to contact for more information.
  • Statement that says if the planned action will be permanent or temporary, and if the entire plant will be closed.
  • Expected date of the first separation, and the expected 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, list the number of affected employees and their job titles by each lay-off location.
  • List if bumping rights exist.
  • Name of each union representing affected employees.
  • Name and address of the chief elected officer of each union.

On a continuous basis, we process WARN notices filed by employers and notify the Local Area, as well as other local government organizations, of reported closures, layoffs, and relocations. Also, the processing of a WARN notice starts the work of the local Rapid Response team.

The WARN reports are created by the CalJOBSSM system and include the basic information on notices we receive from employers.

Latest WARN Report

You can download the latest WARN Report: WARN notices processed from July 1, 2024, to present (XLSX).

Listing of WARN Notices From Previous Years

The WARN reports listed below are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). You may need to download the no-cost Adobe Reader to view and print these reports.

For detailed information on a specific WARN record, submit a Public Records Act requests through Ask EDD by selecting the Public Records Request category.

WARN Act Coordinator

For more information about WARN-related services, contact our WARN Act Coordinator or your designated Local Workforce Development Area.

Media Requests

For all media requests, contact our Communications Office. WARN requests will be processed within 10 days of receiving your request.

Other Contacts

Department of Industrial Relations

Contact the Department of Industrial Relations about the enforcement of the California WARN law.

Note: A Guide to Advance Notice of Closings and Layoffs provides additional information about the Federal WARN Act.

Notification Requirements

General Provisions of the Federal and California WARN Laws

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

The following is a side-by-side chart that provides the general standards of the law:


General Provisions of the Federal and California WARN Laws
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)]

Work Sharing Program

Thinking about layoffs? Instead, apply for the Work Sharing Program. Cut hours and wages while we pay partial unemployment benefits. Keep great employees! Avoid the cost of hiring and training new employees when your business or the economy improves. This program has less impact on your unemployment taxes than a full layoff, and it can positively affect employee morale and loyalty.