Basics of Writing a Layoff Letter

Layoff letters are sometimes difficult things to write. Employers may be faced with multiple issues in layoffs, particularly if there are a lot of people affected.

Required Information in Layoff Letters

Important: Please note that any information contained in the layoff letter is effectively a commitment on the part of the employer. Check all details before issue to ensure all information is correct. In particular, all information relating to specific details of the terms of layoffs must be accurate. 

The information contained in the layoff letter is the employer's formal notification to employees regarding termination. There are some necessary elements in a layoff letter which can be used to structure your letter efficiently:

  • Date of layoff: This is a mandatory requirement, setting the date of termination of employment for legal purposes. If possible, it's advisable to give as much prior notice as possible to employees, allowing time for them to address their issues.

  • Layoff issues: Some layoff situations have specific issues, like requirements for returns of equipment, use of employer vehicles, etc.

  • Payments and entitlements: The amount of payout, any entitlements to unpaid holiday leave, bonuses, overtime, or other payments.

  • Method and date of payments: This is another mandatory requirement, setting up the framework for final payments.

  • Entitlement issues: Some staff may have packages or other issues which are affected by the layoff. These issues may require negotiated settlements, or may be strictly arbitrary payments in terms of employee contracts.

  • Program payments through payroll: Refer to the payroll section as the source of information.

  • Standardized letter formats: Unless there are specific reasons for employees to receive different forms of notification, all layoff letters should be identical. This prevents any confusion regarding the layoff issues. 


Dear (name of employee)

I regret to inform you that due to market conditions, we are unavoidably obliged to terminate the employment of a number of out highly valued staff. Accordingly  we must formally give notice that your employment will terminate on mm/dd/yyyy.

Please note the following terms and conditions of termination:

Staff must return all company equipment and vehicles prior to the date above.

Final payment of outstanding salary and entitlements will be made on mm/dd/yyyy.

We appreciate that staff may have personal matters related to payroll issues which may require advice regarding procedures and options. Please contact the payroll staff to obtain this information.

We have given as much advance notice as possible to employees to allow time for staff to arrange their affairs. If you require any assistance in relation to these matters, please contact the Human Resources department for assistance.

Yours sincerely