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Employee Layoff Letter Writing Tips and Examples

Employee layoffs are a bit more complicated than firing an employee. You conduct layoffs when you have let go of an employee for business or organizational-related reasons as opposed to employee behavior or misconduct.

One way to compliment a layoff process is to provide an employee with a layoff letter. Below we’ll look at how you can put together an employee layoff letter with tips and examples. 

What is an employee layoff letter

A layoff letter is a written document that states an employee is being laid off and why they are being let go of. An employee layoff letter is just one aspect of the layoff process. HR teams and team leaders should still have a meeting, speak verbally with the employee, and employ a step-by-step procedure for layoffs. 

Employee layoff letter should include:

  • A clear explanation as to why the employee is being laid off. 
  • An explanation of the next steps in the layoff process.
  • Benefits and severance that comes with the layoff. 
  • The employee’s last day of work.
  • Where they can find additional information.
  • Any kind of additional support you might be offering employees. 

What is the purpose of an employee layoff letter

The employee layoff letter is a tool that HR teams can use to help with the transition and news of a layoff. Employees will have questions. They might be confused or distressed. The letter, when thoroughly and effectively written, is a good way to provide your employee with something tangible that they can immediately turn to to get their questions answered. 

Employee layoff letters also help to protect you from any lawsuits or legal action. They provide you with documentation you can refer to that clearly cites the reasoning, timeline, and language used in order to communicate a layoff. 

How to communicate in your employee layoff letter

How you communicate with your employee in a layoff letter will depend largely on the reason for the layoff. If it’s a permanent layoff, the language and context will look differently from a temporary decision made because of COVID-19 or some other structural business change.

Still, there are some best practices you can employ in pretty much any context. You can follow these tips to write an understanding, clear, and empathetic employee layoff letter.

  • Write clearly and directly address the specific employee. You don’t want a generic letter that you hand out to every employee you let go of. Even if you let go of a group of employees for the same reason, refer to them by name in each individual letter. 
  • Be direct, clear, and thorough. 
  • There should be no ambiguity regarding why an employee was let go of. As opposed to modifying your message to make it seem less harsh, employees will appreciate transparency and clarity. 
  • Thank employees for their time and remind them that their contributions are valued and well-received.
  • Provide employees with more information regarding severance, pay, and their final date. 
  • If you have any support services or resources, like a layoff assist program, be sure to include the information/link to those resources in the letter.

Employee layoff letter example

Here’s an example you can refer to get an idea of what an employee layoff letter might look like: 


Dear [Employee Name],

I regret to inform you that you are being laid off as a [position name], effective [date]. This is a permanent layoff. 

Please note that these layoffs are not due to your performance or conduct as an employee. Due to [State reason–restructuring, downsizing, COVID-19 related reasons, etc.] we have to let go of [number] employees. 

You will receive [$ amount of severance] and you will continue receiving your current benefits until [check benefits contract for date]. 

We value your time and commitment to [company name], and would like to inform you of a layoff assistance program that you can access in the wake of this difficult decision. The assist program will set you up with recruiters, place you in a job board database, and provide you with tools to help you in the next step in your career. 

Please contact the human resources department for your exit interview and to complete the final steps of the layoff process.



[HR member name]

[HR member role/title]

[HR member number]

[HR member email]

How Crosschq can help with employee layoff assistance

The best way to help employees transition out of a layoff is through a layoff assistance solution. Crosschq Assist offers everything employees need to bridge the gap to the next step of their careers with the confidence and support they need. 

Click here to learn more about how Crosschq Assist can help employees meet recruiters, gain access to sourcing databases, and receive the support they need from start to finish.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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