US Layoffs Tracker – WARN Public Data Tracker

This live layoffs tracker is updated with public WARN data (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification).

Related: Tech Layoffs Tracker

It’s important to note that not all layoffs or office closures require WARN notices, as the triggering thresholds are determined by the specific state. Employers must adhere to the federal WARN Act and any applicable state-specific “mini-WARN Acts” for employees based in the affected state, which can be complex for fully remote employees.

Disclaimer: Please note that we are not attorneys, and this is not legal advice. It serves as a general resource to help you understand the federal and state WARN Acts.

What is the WARN Act?

The WARN Act, officially known as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, sets forth rules for employers conducting significant layoffs or office closures (referred to as plant closures). It mandates that employees and state government officials be given a minimum of 60 days’ notice before such job losses occur.

Key Points to Remember

  1. Not All Layoffs Require WARN Notices: The specifics of when WARN notices are necessary depend on the state in which the layoffs are happening. Each state has its own criteria for triggering WARN notifications.
  2. Federal vs. State WARN Acts: The federal WARN Act applies to all employers, and some states have their own “mini-WARN Acts” with stricter rules. Employers usually need to follow both federal and state laws based on the location of affected employees.
  3. Challenges for Remote Employees: Determining which WARN Act applies to fully remote employees is complex and varies from case to case.

A Brief History of the WARN Act

The WARN Act became law in 1988, and since then, many states have introduced their own versions with additional requirements for employers. The primary goal of this law is to ensure that employees are given adequate notice before job loss, allowing them to seek new employment. It also enables states to offer swift assistance to affected employees.

The Federal WARN Act

The federal WARN Act obliges employers to provide notices in the case of mass layoffs or plant closures, affecting a specific number of employees. Key definitions include full-time employees, eligible employers, plant closings, and mass layoffs.

Exceptions to WARN

The WARN Act has exceptions for “Faltering Company,” “Unforeseeable Business Circumstances,” and “Natural Disaster,” where the usual requirements do not apply.

Key Definitions in the Federal WARN Act

  • Full-time Employee: Full-time employees are those who work at least 20 hours per week and have been employed by the company for at least 6 of the past 12 months.
  • Eligible Employer: The federal WARN Act applies to employers who meet either of the following criteria:
    • Employ 100 or more full-time employees.
    • Employ 100 or more employees whose combined working hours total at least 4,000 hours per week, excluding overtime hours.
    • It’s important to note that employees on leave, such as parental or sick leave, are still counted toward these thresholds.
  • Plant Closing: This occurs when an office or plant is closed, resulting in the loss of employment for 50 or more full-time employees at a single site within a 30-day period.
  • Mass Layoff: A mass layoff is when an employer conducts a significant reduction in force, leading to job loss for either of the following:
    • 500 or more full-time employees within a single job site.
    • 33% of the company’s full-time employees and at least 50 full-time employees within a single job site.


  • If Mega Corp, a large employer with 30,000 employees, lays off 500 employees at a single office, the Federal WARN Act is triggered for a Mass Layoff.
  • XYZ, LLC, an employer with 200 employees, lays off 50 employees across multiple offices, but the Federal WARN Act is not triggered because the total number of affected employees at any single site is below 500 and doesn’t meet the 33% threshold.
  • XYZ, LLC, an employer with 200 full-time employees, closes an office with 50 employees, resulting in the triggering of the Federal WARN Act for a Plant Closing.
  • Acme, Inc, an employer with 100 full-time employees, lays off 40% of its staff across multiple offices, but the Federal WARN Act is not triggered because the total number of affected employees is below 50.

Notice Requirement: For employers subject to the federal WARN Act, a notice must be filed with the state government at least 60 days before a plant closing or mass layoff. Most states make these notices available on their government websites.

State Specific Mini WARN Acts

StateAdditional InfoEmployee ThresholdReduction in ForcePlant ClosingsRemote EmployeesNotice Period
California WARN ActRequires additional info in WARN noticeCovers employers with 75 or more employeesThreshold reduced to 50 employees within 30 days (regardless of company size)N/AN/AN/A
Hawaii WARN ActN/ACovers employers of 50 or more workersRequires filing for layoffs of any sizeN/AN/AN/A
Illinois WARN ActN/ACovers employers of 75 or more employeesRedefined to 250 or 25 employees criteria (with 33% employee criterion)N/AN/AN/A
New York WARN ActN/ACovers employers of 50 or more employeesRedefined to 250 or 25 employees criteria (with 33% employee criterion)Redefined to any office closure affecting 25 employeesProposed legislation for clarification LinkN/A
New Jersey WARN ActImposes severance requirementsApplies to employers with 100 or more employeesAny reduction affecting at least 50 full-time employees (regardless of workforce percentage)N/AN/AIncreased notice period to 90 days

Enforcement and Penalties

Employers found in violation of the WARN Act can face civil penalties, with a maximum penalty of 60 days’ back pay and benefits for affected employees. Some employers choose to provide this penalty as severance pay instead of issuing notices.

WARN Acts in Practice: Meta’s Layoff Timeline

Large companies often choose to pay the maximum WARN penalty to their employees as severance to have more control over layoff announcements. The timeline for Meta’s layoffs in April 2023 serves as an example of this practice.

COVID-19 Carve-outs

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, with some states altering or suspending their WARN Act requirements in response to unforeseen circumstances.

Dealing with Remote Employees

The WARN Act was written before the era of remote work, making its application to remote employees somewhat unclear. The employee’s reporting structure and work location often play a role in determining jurisdiction.

Navigating WARN Acts can be complex, especially when considering both federal and state laws. If you believe your employer may have violated the WARN Act, it’s advisable to consult an attorney with expertise in this area. The WARNTracker team can help you find the right attorney if needed.