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Why Do Layoffs Happen on Tuesdays?

06 April
by Josh Hrala
3 minute read

There are a lot of things to consider when you are about to hold a layoff event or reduction in force (RIF). How long should the meeting be? Short, around 15 minutes long. What support should I offer my staff? Outplacement, which helps them get back on their feet and save your reputation. And, is there is a ‘good’ time to hold such an event?

You can download our guide for selecting employees to layoff here.

Why Do Layoffs Happen on Tuesdays?

This last question is interesting. Is there truly a decent time for holding a layoff? Can any day be better than the next? The answer is a bit surprising. According to multiple sources, the best day to hold a layoff is on Tuesday.

Let’s dig into why.

Why Do Layoffs Happen on Tuesdays?

First, we need to look at the other days of the week and examine why they aren’t the appropriate time.

For example, it makes logical sense to hold a layoff on a Friday, right? After all, it’s the end of the week, the staff member(s) will have the weekend to unwind, and it allows them to complete all of their work while giving HR the time needed to get the paperwork in order.

While this definitely does make sense at first, you can quickly see that by having a layoff on a Friday that you are leaving the team/department that is impacted by the layoff without immediate support. You also are leaving the person who was laid off without outplacement support - if you go through a traditional provider, anyway - until Monday, allowing them time to resent your business and build up stress.

What About Monday?

Monday, like Friday, seems like a good idea, too. You start the week by doing what needs to be done then helping the team/displaced worker with support. However, this is actually the wrong move, too, because HR - unless they spend all of Friday on the task - haven’t had the time to meet, get the paperwork in order, and set the layoff process in motion.

Why Do Layoffs Happen on Tuesdays?

This leaves Wednesday and Thursday.

Both of these days are okay with Wednesday being slightly easier to manage because there are more days left in the week. For example, Thursday only leaves one day for the employee to finish their tasks, talk to HR or your legal team, and make their transition out of the company. The weekend is too close to the event for the surviving team to fully grasp how they will handle the new work left by the exiting employee, too.

Tuesday Is the Clear Winner

While there are a lot of options to consider - with many HR leaders differing slightly on the importance of every day - Tuesday seems to always come out on top. Mainly because it gives HR the time to get the paperwork in order and then, after the event, it allows the impacted team and worker to find the support they need.

“Monday gives HR and the terminated employee’s manager time to ensure all paperwork and communication is ready,” Michael Godfrey, a global human resources leader for HR consulting firm Organizational Alchemy in Seattle, told the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

“Once the termination is complete, you have the remainder of the week to help the terminated employee’s team and/or larger organization through the transition.”

Now, this advice may differ based on your company’s culture, how your work week is structured, how quickly the event needs to happen, and much more.

Holding a layoff event on a Tuesday is just what seems to be the logical day of action. Looking at various layoffs, you can see that Tuesday is also the prefered day, though there is no truly ideal day to let someone go.

That being said, Nathaniel Glasser, an attorney with Epstein, Becker & Green in Washington, DC, says that the most important part of the layoff event - regardless of what day you do it on - is to have everything ready and properly handled so that the event goes over smoothly.

“There are many different opinions on the best day and time to conduct a termination,” Glasser told SHRM.

“I suggest worrying less about the specific day and simply concentrate on getting all the ducks in a row and communicating the decision once that happens.”

Want to learn more about layoffs and how to humanely handle them? Check out our free guide here:

Download Our Layoff Script Here!

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