Coronavirus Layoffs and Furloughs: Letters, Templates and Forms
Coronavirus Layoffs and Furloughs: Letters, Templates and Forms

Coronavirus Layoffs and Furloughs: Letters, Templates and Forms

Everyone is Feeling the Pain of COVID-19

As of March 22, 2020, the federal government asked state labor officials to postpone releasing unemployment data and to instead use phrases such as “very high” or “large increase” to describe the situation, according to the New York Times. When official numbers are released on March 26, experts warn of a double-digit unemployment rate in some areas of the country. An early indicator: 55,000 people in Michigan filed for unemployment between Monday and Wednesday, a 1,500% increase over expected levels, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Access The Coronavirus Layoff and Furlough Templates

Understand What a Layoff Means

A layoff is a termination of an employee’s contract with your company due to issues unrelated to their performance. In normal times, layoffs occur as a natural response to downsizing, cash flow and cost containment strategies. Layoffs can be temporary or permanent, though employers are not obligated to guarantee that their initial optimistic offer of a temporary layoff won’t become permanent given factors beyond their control. For the most part, workers who are laid off can file for unemployment insurance benefits.

What to Tell Employees Who are Being Laid Off

We are experiencing a once-in-a-century public health crisis that infectious disease experts are comparing to the 1918 influenza pandemic. If ever there was a situation beyond an employer’s control, this is it. Now is a time for honesty, not talking points. HR leaders should communicate their company’s rationale and strategy moving forward during this perilously uncertain time. Explain why the layoff is necessary, be open about the specific financial challenges your company is navigating, and if there is hope that the employee may be re-hired in the coming months, lay out that best case scenario based on the information you have available now.

This Is a Time for Empathy, and People May Surprise You

Paycor believes this is a time to lead with empathy and transparency, not emotional distance. In times of crisis, be they the natural disasters of recent memory or the financial collapse of 2008, we have seen firsthand our employees step up, make sacrifices, and do all they can for the health and wellbeing of their colleagues and the company.

Know That Help Is on the Way

As of late March, we are still at the beginning of government aid, and already both houses of congress have worked together to advance more than a trillion dollars of relief for workers and economic stimulation. Lawmakers have already passed two bills and are at work on a third, potentially even larger stimulus.


Additional Resources:

Coronavirus: Support Center for SMB Leaders
Get expert advice on HR, people management, and SMB strategy from Paycor during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Read What the Coronavirus Relief Package Means to SMBs
Read How to Apply for a Coronavirus Small Business Loan


Fill Out the Form Below to Get Access to Three Templates:

COVID-19 Furlough Letter Template

This is an example of a furlough letter that specifies COVID-19 as the root cause of the furlough. It covers topics including: seniority, health insurance, and unemployment benefits.

Employee Layoff Letter - Template

This is an example of communication to deliver to employees you need to layoff. The form provides the same information as temporary layoff letter and includes language to describe a severance package, if applicable.

Letter of Temporary Layoff - Template

This is an example of communication to deliver to employees you need to temporarily layoff. The form provides rationale for the business decision, an explanation of benefits the employee can expect, and advice on what next actions they can take.

Access Furlough & Layoff Letter Templates

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