With massive layoffs happening daily, even in Iowa (e.g. Microsoft, Electrolux, Meredith) it’s important to know your rights during a mass layoff or closing under Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

What is WARN? WARN is a federal law which offers protection to employees by requiring employers to provide written notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.


Is my employer covered by WARN?  Businesses with at least 100 full-time employees or a combination of at least 100 part-time and full-time employees who work a total of 4000 hours per week are covered by WARN.


What is a “mass layoff” or “plant closing”?  A mass layoff or plant closing occurs when:


  • at least 50 employees are laid off during a 30-day period, if the laid-off employees made up at least one-third of the workforce
  • 500 employees are laid off during a 30-day period, no matter how large the workforce; or
  • an entire work site is closed down and at least 50 employees are laid off during a 30-day period.


What happens if WARN is violated?  If a business violates the WARN Act  the business is liable to each aggrieved employee for an amount including back pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days.


It is important to contact your attorney to discuss your specific situation if you feel your employer has violated the WARN act.