What’s the difference between layoff and firing?

Oleksandr Gamaniuk
3 min readJan 12, 2023


A layoff and a firing are both ways that a company can reduce its workforce, but they refer to different situations and have different implications for the affected employees.

A layoff typically refers to a temporary or permanent loss of employment due to economic conditions or a change in the company’s business. Employees who are laid off are typically eligible for unemployment benefits and may be able to return to their jobs if the company’s situation improves.

Firing, also known as termination or dismissal, refers to the act of ending an employee’s employment for cause, such as poor performance, violation of company policy, or misconduct. Employees who are fired are generally not eligible for unemployment benefits and do not have the expectation of being rehired by the company.

In a layoff situation, employee will get laid off due to external factors such as decrease in demand or business downturn, while on the other hand, firing is done when company finds an employee to be unproductive or misconducted.

Why do companies lay off employees?

Companies lay off employees for a variety of reasons, including financial distress, changes in technology or market conditions, the need to restructure or reorganize the company, or to improve efficiency and productivity. In some cases, layoffs may be necessary in order to cut costs and keep the company financially stable. Additionally, company may also layoffs employees to adjust to the decrease in demand or shift in their business model.

How often are people fired?

It’s difficult to estimate how often people are fired, as data on this topic can vary depending on the source and the definition of “firing.” However, some studies suggest that the rate of termination varies depending on the industry and the economic conditions.

In general, studies show that the rate of firing tends to be higher during economic downturns when companies are more likely to be facing financial difficulties and may need to reduce their workforce to cut costs. However, in good economic times, companies may also fire employees for poor performance or if they are not meeting company’s expectations.

It’s also worth noting that termination rates can vary by industry. For example, in the service sector, employees are often considered more disposable and therefore fired more frequently, while in other industries, like government jobs, termination may be less common and be a result of lengthy procedures.

Overall, it’s difficult to provide an exact figure of how often people are fired because it depends on factors such as industries, companies, and the economic condition of the region/country.

Will I be fired for bad performance?

It depends on the specific circumstances of your situation. Poor performance is one of the reasons that companies may choose to terminate an employee’s employment, but it is not the only reason.

If you believe that you are not meeting your company’s expectations, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible and work with your manager or supervisor to develop a plan to improve your performance. This can include setting specific goals, receiving additional training or support, or receiving constructive feedback.

It’s also important to look into the company’s performance management process, if they have any in place, understand what are the standards, and how are they measured. Also, if there’s a Performance Improvement Plan(PIP) or any similar process in the company, find out how it works, and if you are placed on one, understand the requirements and timeline.

You should also try to get an understanding of what is driving your poor performance, is it lack of support, training or any other issue you are facing, bringing this to attention of your manager may help in identifying a possible solution.

It’s important to understand that if your performance doesn’t improve despite all your efforts and the company’s support, then it may lead to termination, but that is usually the last resort after all the other options have been exhausted.