HR Guide: California Warn Act Compliance Essentials

Updated on 05/08/2024


Blog Image


  1. California Warn Act offers security for employees during workforce changes such as layoffs, closures, or relocations.
  2. WARN Act criteria include having 75 or more employees in the previous year, with each employee having completed at least six months of work.
  3.  A 60-day notice period is mandatory for any plant closures, layoffs of 50 or more employees within 30 days, or relocations of at least 100 miles.
  4. Violations of the California WARN Act can lead to severe penalties, including fines of $500 per day per violation.

Are you aware of the recent updates to the California Warn Act? Are you wondering how they might impact your workplace or business operations in the future?

As a California resident or someone planning to work and live in California, it is very important that in 2024 you know about the California Warn act requirements in order to stay compliant and mitigate potential risks. So, let’s discuss the details of the WARN Act California to understand what it means for your organization.

What Is California Warn Notice?

The California WARN Act safeguards employees during substantial workforce shifts. While the federal WARN Act offers a basic level of safeguarding, certain states, such as California, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Illinois, impose additional regulations.

In California, this law applies to specific businesses, ensuring that employees receive adequate notice in case of company closures, significant layoffs, or relocations. Employers are required to adhere to both federal and state WARN Acts whenever a covered business undergoes significant changes.

Note: Ready to take control of your career? Explore a variety of self employment opportunities on Yulys.

How Does California Layoff Notice Protect Employees?

In California, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act protects employees by requiring employers to provide advance notice of layoffs or plant closures. This notice gives affected employees time to prepare for unemployment and seek new employment opportunities. Here's how it protects them:

  1. Advance Notice: Employers with 75 or more full-time or part-time employees are required to provide at least 60 days advance notice of a mass layoff, relocation, or plant closure. This allows employees to plan financially and emotionally for the impending job loss.
  2. Information: The notice must include specific information about the layoff or closure, including the reason for it, the number of employees affected, and the expected date of separation.
  3. Severance Pay: Employers who fail to provide the required notice may be liable to pay affected employees back pay and benefits for the period of violation, up to 60 days.
  4. State Assistance: The WARN Act also ensures that affected employees are connected with state resources for reemployment services, training, and other benefits to help them transition to new employment.
  5. Exceptions: The WARN Act has some exceptions, such as unforeseeable business circumstances or natural disasters, but these exceptions are narrowly interpreted to ensure maximum protection for employees.

What are the Requirements of California Warn Act?

To activate the California Warn Act, an employer must meet the criteria of a "covered establishment." This designation applies if the employer has had 75 or more full and part-time employees within the previous 12 months. Additionally, employees must have completed at least six months of work during this period leading up to the required notice date.

Employers subject to the California WARN Act must give 60 days' notice before any plant closure, layoff, or relocation. Simply adhering to the federal WARN list in California is not sufficient. In addition to federal obligations, notifications must be dispatched to the Local Workforce Development Board and the principal elected official of each relevant city and county in California.

Adhering to these regulations is important for employers to fulfill legal responsibilities. It also ensures positive relationships with employees and local communities during significant transitions.

Note: Seeking part-time work? Yulys has part time job near me features that will introduce you to local job opportunities.

When Does California Warn Report Law Apply?

The California WARN Act is activated by specific events that impact the workforce. These events include a plant closure affecting any number of employees, a layoff involving 50 or more employees within 30 days, regardless of the proportion of the workforce affected, and a relocation of at least 100 miles that impacts any number of employees. These occurrences trigger the WARN Act, which ensures that employees are provided with advance notice and safeguarded amidst significant changes to their employment status.

The Act is triggered in the following circumstances:

  1. Plant Closure: The California WARN Act applies when a facility or plant closes, resulting in job loss for any number of employees. This provision ensures that employees are not suddenly deprived of employment without sufficient notice, allowing them time to seek alternative employment opportunities or make necessary arrangements.
  2. Mass Layoff: Its requirement is triggered when there is a significant reduction in the workforce, specifically the termination, relocation, or suspension of 50 or more employees within 30 days.

This provision applies irrespective of the percentage of the total workforce affected. It aims to protect a large number of employees from sudden job loss, providing them with essential time and resources to navigate the transition.

  1. Relocation: This California WARN Act is implemented when an employer relocates operations to a new location at least 100 miles away, which results in job loss for any number of employees.

By requiring advance notice in such cases, the Act ensures that employees are informed about changes that may impact their employment status due to the relocation. This allows affected employees to explore their options and make informed decisions about their future.

Note: Looking for the best place to post jobs? Yulys offers job listings, ensuring maximum exposure to potential candidates.

What are Exceptions in Warn Notice California List?

The California Warn Act doesn’t apply in certain situations:

  1. Project Completion: If a closure or layoff occurs due to the completion of a project, the Act doesn’t apply. This exception is relevant to employers covered by specific Wage Orders and industries where employees are hired for the duration of a particular project.
  2. Seasonal Employment: Employees hired for seasonal work aren’t subject to the usual notice requirements since they understand their employment is temporary.
  3. Physical Calamity or Act of War: If a mass layoff, relocation, or plant closure results from a physical disaster or war, no notice is required.
  4. Capital or Business Pursuit: In some cases, if an employer actively seeks capital or business and informs the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), it may not need to provide notice before relocating or terminating employees. This exception prevents hindrance to securing necessary capital or business.

Understanding these situations and exceptions is crucial for employers to comply with the California WARN Act effectively and ensure they meet requirements.

Penalties for Violating the WARN Act California

Employers who violate the California WARN Act face severe consequences. Failure to comply will result in a fine of $500 per day for each day of violation. It's crucial to note that affected employees are entitled to certain rights.

Employees may receive back pay, which is calculated based on their final salary or their average salary over three years, whichever is higher. Additionally, employers might be required to cover medical expenses that the company's health plan would have covered. This obligation remains in place for the duration of the violation, which can last up to 60 days or half of the employee's tenure, whichever is shorter.

These penalties underscore the importance of employers understanding the California WARN Act. Non-compliance can cause legal and financial challenges for the company. Human resource managers play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance, maintaining transparency in all processes, and avoiding legal issues.

Note: Experience the difference with Yulys' quality staffing services – where excellence meets efficiency in building your dream team.


The California  Warn Act ensures that workers are treated fairly during major workplace changes, like layoffs or company moves. Employers must follow specific rules, like giving a 60-day notice before making these changes. While there are some exceptions, not following the rules can lead to serious penalties. Both employers and employees must know their rights and responsibilities under this law to maintain a smooth and fair workplace.

User Image

Update at 05/08/2024

A trusted Platform for 8,000+ businesses around the world

Some of the most renowned businesses post jobs on Yulys to find the perfect talent. Be the next one and find the right fit for your organization.

Get the Latest Updates from
Yulys Resource Center