layoff

noun
lay·​off | \ ˈlā-ˌȯf How to pronounce layoff (audio) \

Definition of layoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a period of inactivity or idleness
2 : the act of laying off an employee or a workforce also : shutdown

lay off

verb
laid off; laying off; lays off

Definition of lay off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mark or measure off
2 : to cease to employ (a worker) often temporarily
3 of a bookie : to place all or part of (an accepted bet) with another bookie to reduce the risk
4a : to leave undisturbed
b : avoid, quit was advised to lay off smoking and alcohol
c : to refrain from swinging at (a pitch)

intransitive verb

1 : to stop doing or taking something
2 : to leave one alone wish you'd just lay off

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Examples of layoff in a Sentence

Noun

The company announced the layoff of several hundred employees. More layoffs are expected at the factory later this year. The band finally has a new album after a three year layoff. a layoff of three years

Verb

you need to lay off eating those jelly doughnuts, or you'll end up looking like one
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While there haven’t been layoffs, some workers are receiving monthly salaries of as little as $220, forcing many to find second jobs as couriers or cabdrivers, the technician said. WSJ, "China’s Car Slump Leaves Foreign Auto Makers With Idle Factories," 25 Dec. 2018 Some employees on layoff lists, including a librarian, ended up keeping their jobs. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland schools in new mess over financial practices," 21 June 2018 But the ambitious gamble didn't pay off, resulting in widespread layoffs and the rescinding of an IPO offering that had been in the planning stages for several years. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Univision wants to sell The Onion and Gizmodo Media Group websites," 10 July 2018 The income took a hit from costs stemming from more than 2,700 in layoffs and early-retirement buyouts extended to employees. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Tax reform and strong Medicare Advantage enrollment have Humana execs upbeat in 2018," 7 Feb. 2018 Already in 2018, Sam’s Club in Fern Park is closing, resulting in 173 layoffs, along with dozens of other Sam’s Clubs, even as parent company Walmart announced raises for employees. Paul Brinkmann, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Central Florida's economy poised for more expansion in 2018," 21 Jan. 2018 The layoffs in 2017 were mostly on the company’s business side. Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "BuzzFeed to Cut 15% of Its Workforce," 23 Jan. 2019 Whittier chief executive Frederica Williams had said the layoffs were because of financial trouble after two grants failed to come through, but the union and the workers insist it was done to suppress the union drive. BostonGlobe.com, "The week in business," 23 June 2018 The Journal also reported that McDonald’s has already made an undisclosed number of corporate job cuts, and the most recent layoffs are part of a strategy to reduce administrative expenses by $500 million before the end of 2019. Jonathan Sperling, Fortune, "McDonald's Plans to Eliminate a Number of Corporate Jobs as Part of Reorganization Plan," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'layoff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of layoff

Noun

1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1748, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for layoff

Last Updated

11 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for layoff

The first known use of layoff was in 1748

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More Definitions for layoff

layoff

noun

Financial Definition of layoff

What It Is

A layoff is a temporary or permanent termination of employment by an employer.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe works for Company XYZ. He has worked there for 15 years. Company XYZ begins having cash flow problems and has to reduce its labor expense in order to avoid going out of business. In turn, it decides to shed 1,000 workers, of which John is one. This mass termination is called a layoff.

A layoff is not the same as being fired. Firings typically occur when an employee is at fault or has disobeyed company policies; terminations are not necessarily a direct reflection of a particular employee's performance (although it takes a village to wreck a company).

Why It Matters

From an investing standpoint, layoffs indicate a struggling company and thus are red flags for their investors. Layoffs can be surprises to people, and they are one of many reasons that investors should have emergency funds on hand at all times.

However, people often get some indication that a layoff is coming. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to provide 60 days' notice (sometimes more) of plant closings and mass layoffs. However, this applies to companies with more than 100 employees (and that 100 generally cannot include people who have been with the company for fewer than six months or part-timers).

Source: Investing Answers

layoff

noun

English Language Learners Definition of layoff

: the act of ending the employment of a worker or group of workers
: a period of time during which there is no activity

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More from Merriam-Webster on layoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with layoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for layoff

Spanish Central: Translation of layoff

Nglish: Translation of layoff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of layoff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on layoff

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