Workers in Illinois have more protections than under the federal WARN Act to be told ahead of time about a big layoff or plant closing. Even if you are covered by the federal WARN Act, you may want to file a complaint under the Illinois act, since the Illinois Department of Labor will enforce the law for you and the protections are stronger.

Workers have a right to be told 60 days ahead of time before a large layoff or plant closure. If an employer doesn't give 60 days notice, the workers have a right to be paid for the days and benefits for the time they weren't told, up to 60 days.

What workers are covered: Companies with 75 full-time employees, or 75 or more employees who work a total of 4000 hours each week, not counting overtime. State, county, and local government workers are not covered.

Job loss is covered when:
  • there is a plant closing, mass layoff, or relocation (the work location moves);
  • it causes employment loss within 30 days;
  • it affects 250 employees or one-third of the employees (which has to be at least 25 full-time employees);
  • part-time workers are not counted when they work less than an average of 20 hours each week or worked less than 6 of the last 12 months.
The protections in the Illinois WARN Act are stronger:
  • the number of workers losing their jobs is smaller;
  • the size of the company is smaller;
  • Illinois WARN covers employer relocation;
  • Illinois enforces their law -- so that workers can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor if their WARN rights are broken. Under the federal WARN Act, workers have to go to court if their rights are broken. Most other rules are the same as the federal WARN Act.

There is one time that workers have an extra right under the federal law. When workers have signed an agreement in order to get severance pay, Illinois will subtract that money from what you are owed for not getting WARN notice. The federal WARN law does not count severance money if you had to give something up to get it (for example, giving up the right to sue your boss) when they decide if you should get WARN money because you didn't get 60 days' notice about losing your job.

If your WARN rights are violated: You have to file a complaint within 6 months. The Illinois Department of Labor enforces the Illinois WARN ACT. The Illinois WARN Act Complaint Form is in the Resources Section of this page.

What is the law: Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act 820 ILCS 65