What is the difference between being fired and laid off?

Despite the assumption by many that the only difference between being fired and being laid off is semantics, this is not the case. Being fired is the equivalent of forced termination, when an employer hands their employee a “pink slip” and sends them walking. Being laid off, however, typically comes as a result of job elimination typically due to economic downturn.

The biggest difference between being fired and being laid off is in your ability to collect unemployment benefits. Few people fired from their jobs are eligible for unemployment, especially if the circumstances arose as a result of misconduct or excessive absenteeism. Employees that are laid off through no fault of their own, such as company downsizing, can apply for and receive unemployment benefits.

Still not sure where you stand? Contact your state unemployment office for more information.

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