Layoff Law and Legal Definition

A layoff is the reduction of a company's work force in response to a temporary or long-term business strategy or economic condition. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) provides some protections to employees who are subject to a layoff.

WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the state dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government.

In general, employers are covered by WARN if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week. Private, for-profit employers and private, nonprofit employers are covered, as are public and quasi-public entities which operate in a commercial context and are separately organized from the regular government. Regular federal, state, and local government entities which provide public services are not covered.