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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Plant Closings and Layoffs   

Plant Closings and Layoffs

 Frequently Asked Questions


The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees (generally not counting those who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and those who work an average of less than 20 hours a week) to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment. WARN makes certain exceptions to the requirements when layoffs occur due to unforeseeable business circumstances, faltering companies, and natural disasters. Advance notice gives workers and their families some transition time to adjust to the prospective loss of employment, to seek and obtain other jobs, and if necessary, to enter skill training or retraining that will allow these workers to compete successfully in the job market. Regular federal, state, local, and federally-recognized Indian Tribal government entities that provide public services are not covered.

Employee entitled to notice under WARN include managers and supervisors, as well as hourly and salaried workers. WARN requires that notice also be given to employees' representatives, the local chief elected official, and the state dislocated worker unit.

The Department of Labor's (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) administers WARN but has no enforcement role in seeking damages for workers who did not receive adequate notice of a layoff or received no notice at all. Some States have plant closure laws of their own. Employers considering a layoff can contact the State Dislocated Worker Unit to find out more information on notice requirements in their state.






For Employers

  • Manufacturing Extension Partnerships - Provides small- and medium-sized manufacturers with expertise and services tailored to their most critical needs, which range from process improvements to worker training.

For Employees and Dislocated Workers


  • For information on the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN):

    Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
    Office of National Response

    Division of Worker Dislocation and Special Response
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room N-5422
    Washington, DC 20210.
    Tel: 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627), or 202-693-3500
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

  • For information on rights to continuing pension and health benefits:

    Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room N-5623
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact EBSA
    Tel: 1-866-444-EBSA (3272)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Regional Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

Phone Numbers