There is never a good day to lay someone off.
Laying off employees is one of the hardest parts of a human resources professional’s job. No matter what day it is, it still won’t be an easy task.
That being said, being strategic in when you give someone a layoff notice can help ease the pain of the notification for the employee, which will in turn make the process easier on the human resources professional, too.
Before we get started with our analysis, make sure to check out our layoff resources:
While there aren’t any laws that say what specific day you must give employees a layoff notice, there are laws around how much notice you have to give employees.
The WARN Act requires employers who meet specific requirements (such as employee size and type of layoff) to give 60 days notice to employees of impending layoffs.
The WARN Act is a federal statut, and other states have even more specific laws pertaining to the notification of employees for impending layoffs as well.
So, when you are trying to figure out what day to lay someone off, make sure you take into account the WARN Act regulations (if they apply to you).
Planning Out The Notification
There are tons of things to consider when trying to decide on which day to lay someone off. It is important to go through all of the situations, analyze the pros and cons, and make the best decision for your organization.
Beginning Of The Week: Particularly Mondays are seen as a somewhat cruel day to lay someone off. It is the beginning of the week and forcing them to come into the office on a Monday to just get laid off seems unnecessary. On the flip side, it gives your employee ample time through the rest of the week to start their job search.
Middle Of The Week: The middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) is generally regarded as the best time to lay someone off. It doesn’t seem as cruel as laying someone off on a Monday, but it still allows your employees time during the week to start their job search. Also, it allows your human resources team to prepare for the layoff during the beginning of the week.
End Of The Week: Laying off employees on Friday, similar to Monday, is somewhat controversial. Employees will feel like you forced them to work a whole week before cutting them loose. (Even though you have paid them for this work, they will still feel this way.)
Also, Friday’s are generally a happier day for employees leading into the weekend so laying someone off on a Friday will surely spoil the rest of their time away from work. On the flip-side, conducting a layoff on a Friday will ensure that your human resources team has ample time to prepare for the notifications throughout the week and will allow any employees who are likely to become very emotional time to cool down throughout the weekend.
Layoffs In The Morning: Laying someone off in the morning can be seen as embarrassing to the employee because they have to clean up their desk while all of their friends and coworkers are also in the office. Some employees will prefer this because it will give them a chance to say goodbye and give them time throughout the day to take care of anything they need to in regards to being laid off.
Layoffs In The Afternoon: Laying someone off in the afternoon may be better for someone who would not want to be embarrassed. It allows the person to leave with everyone else from their work, not drawing attention to themselves. However, employees may resent that their employer had them work all day just to lay them off at the end of the day. Also, if the employee has a lot of loose ends to tie up, laying them off in the afternoon may require them to stay later at work, which can be inconsiderate to someone who is emotional after just being laid off.
Holidays: It isn’t always possible, but human resources teams should try their best to not layoff someone during - or close to - the holidays. It can cause your employees a lot of stress and will also look badly of your employer brand if it gets out to the public.