Difference Between Laid Off and Fired

Laid Off vs Fired

Losing employment is the biggest curse they say as it brings hardships for the entire family in its wake. There are many different ways a man could lose his job with ‘laid off’ and fired being adjectives that are used to indicate the same end result of loss of job for an individual. Despite similarities, the chief one being an involuntary termination from job, there are differences between laid off and fired that will be highlighted in this article.

Laid Off

Lay off is a phrase that has become common in these days of the dreaded pink slips. This is the termination of employment of an individual that results from redundancy. This happens, not because of any inefficiency on the part of the employees, but because of the need of restructuring. When the business is slack or going through a cycle of weak demand, it becomes necessary for the management to reduce the number of employees. Sometimes, lay off is mentioned in the employment contract where the parties agree that the employee will be terminated if his performance is not satisfactory during the probation period.


No one likes the idea of being fired from his job. Fired reminds one of involuntary termination of employment that takes place as a result of either bad performance or bad behavior on the part of the employee. If someone has been fired, he is looked down upon as his termination is vied as a result of his failure rather than the failure or problem of the management. Getting a sack or being dismissed are other similar terms for being fired from a job. If one has been fired from his job, he finds it difficult to gain employment as prospective employers do not like to hire people who have been fired.

What is the difference between Laid Off and Fired?

• While both laid off and fired mean involuntary termination from employment, fired off has negative connotations and is considered dishonorable as it is thought of resulting from bad performance or behavior of the employee.

• Laid off is an adjective that reflects problems faced by the management such as the economic downturn or restructuring.

• There is a chance of getting back employment when one has been laid off but certainly not when he has been fired.

• Laid off does not bring dishonor to an employee as it does not reflect an appraisal of his performance or behavior.

• Lay off can be temporary, but firing is permanent.

• Laid off people are likely to receive unemployment benefits as loss of job is not considered their fault.

• Getting fired off is a more stressful experience for an individual than being laid off.