Be Aware of the Differences Between Federal and State-Specific Layoff Regulations

Author: Pat Kelly

Category: COVID-19

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. 

There are 7 states that have their own laws that work in conjunction with the Federal WARN Act:

State Requirements


Applies to employers with 50 or more employees.


Applies to employers with 75 or more full-time employees when:
- 25 or more full-time employees are laid off if they constitute one-third or more of the full-time employees at the site, or
- 250 or more full-time employees are laid off


Applies to employers with 75 or more full or part-time employees where 50 or more employees are to be laid off due to a plant closing, mass layoff, or relocation of the employer's business.  Unlike the federal law, there is no requirement that the number of employees to be laid off constitute a certain percentage of the employer's workforce.  Relocation is defined as a move to a different location more than 100 miles from the prior location.


Maryland's version of WARN, the Maryland Economic Stabilization Act, is voluntary and applies to employers in the industrial, commercial, and business industries with 50 or more employees.  Otherwise, an employer must comply with the federal requirements.

New Jersey

Applies to employers who have been in business at least three years and have at least 100 employees.  It applies in situations where a covered employer:
- transfers or terminates its operations during any continuous period of 30 days which results in the termination of employment of 50 or more full-time employees, or
- conducts a mass layoff that results in an employment loss during any 30 day period of:
500 or more full-time employees, or
50 or more full-time employees representing one third or more of the full-time employees at the establishment

New York

Applies to private employers with 50 or more workers who layoff at least 25 employees.


Applies to employers with 50 or more employees, instead of the 100 required by the federal law. All other federal requirements apply.


Click here for more information and resources from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Click here to download a complete list of the State WARN Act Laws.

About the Author

Pat Kelly

Posted in: COVID-19

Posted by Pat Kelly

Pat has been with Hausmann-Johnson Insurance since 2011, and has over 30 years of experience in employee benefits. He is passionate about building a relationship with clients beyond just being a product vendor. He forms client connections through honest communication, continuous education, and always doing what he says he is going to do. Pat works with employers of all sizes, and with both fully insured and self-funded medical clients, including defined contribution, HRA, HSA, and FSA. He also works with clients on their disability, life, dental and vision needs. Pat graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.S. in Recreational Resource Management. Pat was a UW Badger football player from 1976-1978, as well as a professional rugby league player in England and France from 1979-1980. He still loves being active year round and shares activities such as biking, skating, skiing and snowshoeing with his family.