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

Business has been on a multidecade campaign to shift more economic risk from its balance sheet onto its work force — through de-unionization, routine use of layoffs, outsourcing and the use of independent contractors. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "Maybe We’re Not All Going to Be Gig Economy Workers After All," 15 Sep. 2019 In a separate report, the government said that new applications for unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs, dropped by 15,000 last week to 204,000. Washington Post, "US consumer prices up slight 0.1% in August but core higher," 12 Sep. 2019 The school also reduced the number of counselors, faculty and staff through layoffs, non-renewal of contracts, and buy-outs, but did not provide specific numbers despite several requests. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "CCSF students protest hefty pay raises for executives amid budget cuts," 12 Sep. 2019 The former governor relied on attrition, not layoffs, throughout most of his tenure to reduce the workforce, though legislative policy also drove that process. Keith M. Phaneuf, courant.com, "State employee OT is up, but salary costs are lower than a decade ago," 5 Sep. 2019 No layoffs in Bedford so far, but employees are understandably worried. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Escalating trade war hits home for many local businesses," 5 Sep. 2019 There have been a handful of substantial layoffs, though, as individual companies faced specific business setbacks. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Nestlé will lay off 53 in Northeast Portland," 3 Sep. 2019 There are no waves of home foreclosures, no spike in layoffs, no market meltdowns and no government rescues to save powerful banks and financial companies in order to contain the damage. Josh Boak, The Denver Post, "White House insists fundamentals of U.S. economy “very strong”," 20 Aug. 2019 The Disney-Fox union, for instance, led to thousands of layoffs, with more potentially on the horizon. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Why Viacom and CBS Had to Merge to Survive," 19 Aug. 2019

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

12 Oct 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

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