WARN Act and Severance Pay

UPDATED: May 21, 2009

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WARN Act and Severance Pay

200+ employees were laid off over an 8 week period. Should we have received WARN notices? I was given $1000 “near term assistance pay” on my last day. Also, I was given a severance agreement which, if I sign, will provide me with 1 month’s pay plus an additional $1000. My former employer is saying I will only get 1 months pay if I sign the agreement as I was already given $1000 on my last day. I feel the “near term assistance” pay is separate from the severance and both should be paid.

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California


BP, Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

The WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) requires businesses who employ over 100 workers to either give their employees 60 days’ notice in writing of a mass layoff or plant closing, or to pay the employees if they fail to give the notice.


I don't know if you worked in a plant that closed, but if not, the Act defines a mass layoff as:


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.

The near term assistance pay may have been in lieu of notice, but an employment attorney will be able to review the agreement thoroughly to how that payment was categorized and determine whether your employer violated the law.

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