Skip to content

Illinois WARN Act: State Guide for Employers

4 min read
illinois warn act

For HR managers in Illinois, understanding the state’s WARN Act is key to managing workforce changes, specifically mass layoffs and plant closings. This guide provides essential insights into Illinois-specific regulations, covering requirements, triggers, definitions, exceptions, and enforcement. Compliance ensures fairness and transparency during significant workforce shifts, aligning with both federal and state rules for a positive workplace culture. Read on to learn the differences in how the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act applies federally and in the state of Illinois.


What is the WARN Act in Illinois?

The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is a crucial state-level legislation designed to protect employees in the face of impending layoffs or plant closures. Understanding the intricacies of this law is essential for HR managers to ensure compliance and foster a fair work environment.

Every US state is bound by federal WARN Act regulations. However, certain states, including Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin have additional, more stringent regulations that apply to businesses and employees within their borders.

Illinois, in particular, has distinct state WARN laws governing layoffs. If your organization is conducting layoffs in Illinois, it’s crucial to be aware of and adhere to these state-specific regulations.

Thankfully, the Illinois WARN Act aligns closely with the federal WARN Act, minimizing variations. We will take a look at the key differences in a subsequent chapter.

Related: Illinois State Holiday Calendar

Illinois WARN Act Requirements

The Illinois WARN Act applies to employers with 75 or more full-time workers, differing from the federal WARN Act. This distinction is critical for HR managers to know, as it influences the triggering events, notice requirements, and enforcement mechanisms.

Illinois WARN Act Triggers

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act in Illinois outlines specific circumstances that trigger its provisions. These triggers, primarily related to mass layoffs and plant closures, necessitate employers to adhere to specific notice requirements. Delving into these triggers is essential for employers and HR managers to navigate workforce changes responsibly and in compliance with state regulations.

WARN Act Illinois Trigger Definitions

In Illinois, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act is triggered under the following circumstances:

1. Mass Layoff:

  • 25 or more full-time employees are laid off, and they constitute one-third or more of the full-time employees at the site, or
  • 250 or more full-time employees are laid off at a single site.

2. Plant Closure:

  • Closure of a site that employs 50 or more employees.

These triggering events require employers to provide advance notice to affected employees, the Local Workforce Development Board, and relevant local government officials to ensure transparency and preparedness during significant workforce changes.

Related: Illinois FMLA Guide

Illinois WARN Act Exceptions

While the Illinois WARN Act generally applies to organizations with over 100 full-time employees, it extends its reach to publicly and privately held companies, as well as for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. A WARN notice is mandatory in cases of a plant closure or a mass layoff, ensuring that employees are informed and prepared for significant workforce changes.

The Illinois WARN Act, designed to protect employees during workforce changes, incorporates specific exceptions for unique circumstances. Employers must be aware of these exceptions to navigate the Act effectively.

warn notice letter template

Key exceptions include:

1. Project Completion or Undertaking:
– No notice required if the closing or layoff results from completing a specific project or undertaking. Applies to certain industries and when employees were hired for a limited duration.

2. Seasonal Employment:
– No notice required for employees in seasonal and temporary positions.

3. Physical Calamity or Act of War:
– No notice required in cases of mass layoffs, relocations, or plant closures due to a physical calamity or act of war.

4. Capital or Business Pursuit: No notice required if, under specific conditions, the employer actively sought capital or business, and a WARN notice would hinder the process. (Only applies to plant closing)

Understanding and applying these exceptions is crucial for employers to ensure compliance with the Illinois WARN Act during unique circumstances and exceptions.

Illinois State WARN Notice enforcement

Enforcement of the Illinois WARN Act differs from the federal counterpart. While the federal government and state cannot initiate actions for non-compliance, the Illinois law empowers the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor to make rules and conduct investigations. The Director has the authority to examine the books and records of an employer during any investigation or proceeding to determine compliance.

In conclusion, HR managers must navigate the nuances of the Illinois WARN Act to ensure compliance with state regulations, understand the specific triggers, and execute proper notice procedures. By doing so, organizations can uphold employee rights and maintain a positive workplace environment during times of significant workforce changes.

Related: Illinois Minimum Wage Explained

Illinois Layoff Offboarding

Understanding and complying with the WARN Act is crucial for HR managers, fostering fairness and transparency during workforce changes. By ensuring employee rights and maintaining open communication, HR professionals contribute to a positive workplace culture and compliance with regulations. After notifying employees of impending layoffs, the next crucial step is initiating the employee offboarding process.

Offboarding with Factorial:

Factorial simplifies the offboarding process, streamlining tasks and ensuring a smooth transition for departing employees. With Factorial, you can efficiently manage exit procedures, such as collecting company assets, updating access permissions, and conducting exit interviews. Offboarding software simplifies the entire process from start to finish.

Key Features for offboarding during layoffs:

1. Clear Communication: Easily communicate departure details to the departing employee, including the last day of work, return of company property, and other essential information.

2. Task Automation: Automate offboarding tasks, such as revoking system access, updating records, and notifying relevant departments, saving time and minimizing the risk of oversight.

3. Documentation and Compliance: Ensure compliance by generating necessary documentation, such as termination letters and exit surveys, helping you maintain a comprehensive record of the offboarding process.

4. Access Control: Centralize access control management, making it simple to revoke access to company systems and confidential information, safeguarding your organization’s data.

By utilizing Factorial for offboarding, HR managers can enhance efficiency, maintain compliance, and provide a positive experience for departing employees.

Book a free demo call to learn more!

Did you like this article? Benjamin McBrayer has been a Content Writer for 5 years. He specializes in HR strategy and workplace trends. Check out Factorial's blog for more of his posts on time management in the office, productivity, and HR news.

Related posts