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The WARN Act

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN)


WARN Booklet for Employers

A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) is required when a business with 50 or more full-time workers (not counting workers who have less than 6 months on the job and workers who work fewer than 20 hours per week) is laying off at least one (1) person at a single site of employment, or employs a combined 50 or more workers at several locations, and who work at least a combined 4,000 hours per week, and is a private for-profit business, private non-profit organization, or quasi-public entity separately organized from regular government. Businesses that employ a Hawaii workforce are required to provide the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) a WARN at least 60 calendar days in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs. For details please read,  How to Submit a WARN to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR)

WARNs assure that timely assistance can be provided to affected workers, their families, and communities by the local Rapid Response Dislocated Worker Team. The WARN also allows workers and their families transition time to seek alternative jobs or enter skills training programs. To learn more about the Hawaii WARN Act, read HRS §394B Dislocated Workers and HAR §12-506 Plant Closing Notification and Dislocated Worker Allowance.

To learn more about the Federal WARN Act read 20 CFR §639 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification. To contest or to request a review of a WARN Act ruling, visit Petition for Declaratory Ruling.

Businesses needing workforce assistance during any phase of operations may visit their local American Job Center (AJC) to access federal and state services and programs. Click here for a condensed list of FREE services available to Hawaii businesses.


WARN Booklet for Job Seekers

Employees/Workers must receive a written notice 60 days before the date of a mass layoff or plant closing if you meet the conditions discussed in this brochure. If your employer does not give you the required notice, you may be able to seek damages for back pay and benefits for up to 60 days, depending on how many days’ notice you actually received. Please refer to the following information to help you understand when WARN applies to the circumstances of your job loss.


Frequently Asked Questions

Employer Coverage

  • Does WARN apply to Puerto Rico and other territories of the United States, such as Guam?
    Territories of the United States are subject to U.S. laws.
  • Are universities covered under WARN?
    Universities are employers. In some states, school boards are separate quasi-governmental entities with certain governmental powers, such as the ability to raise revenue. Private universities are not government entities, so they are covered.
  • Are hospitals covered under WARN?
    Unless there is a municipal hospital run as a government agency, hospitals would be covered.
  • Is Guam covered under WARN?
    Guam is a territory of the U.S. and is subject to U.S. laws.

Exception to Giving Notice

  • Is an economic crisis considered to be an unforeseen business circumstance?
    If an employer believes their situation is the result an economic crisis, it may apply the unforeseen business circumstance exception; however, there could be a burden on the employer to prove why it could not plan 90 days in advance.

Paid Time Off to Seek Employment

  • Does WARN allow employees time off with pay to look for another job during the notice period?
    WARN allows workers time to make appropriate arrangements for a new job or retraining. It is within the discretion of the employer to give the worker paid time off to look for another job.



Declaratory Rulings

The Workforce Development Council (WDC) Rapid Response Services

Upon receipt of a WARN notice, the designated county Rapid Response Team coordinates with the employer to provide on-site information to the workers and employers about employment and retraining services that are designed to help participants find new jobs. These services may include:

  • Labor market information (occupational information and economic trends)
  • Job search and placement assistance
  • On-the-job training
  • Classroom training
  • Entrepreneurial training
  • Referral to basic and remedial education

Rapid Response Services for Businesses/Employers

Rapid Response Services for Job Seekers


For more information about the State of Hawaii WARN Act contact: For more information about the federal WARN Act contact:
Statewide Rapid Response Coordinator U.S. Department of Labor, WARN Act Information Line
[email protected] Employment and Training Administration, Office of Policy Development and Research
(808) 586-8877 Division of Policy, Legislation, and Regulations
200 Constitution Ave, NW, Room N5641
Washington, DC 20210
Telephone: (202) 693-3079
E-mail: [email protected]