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  • Writer's pictureSarah Egan

To Fire vs Let Go vs Lay Off vs Make Redundant vs Sack

From being sacked, to laying workers off and making staff redundant to name but a few, not to mention handing in your notice and resigning which all seem quite perplexing in the working world.

You would think that to stop working in a job would be a as simple as to leave your job or to be fired, but it’s a little more complex than that.

Let’s go down the rabbit hole and explore different ways and situations in the workplace.

*To sack someone /to get the sack (informal)

To remove someone from a job, usually because they have done something wrong or badly, or sometimes as a way of saving the cost of employing them.

Jack has been sacked due to the fact that he constantly shows up late for work and it’s affecting the office’s performance.

*To fire someone

To make someone leave their job, sometimes as a punishment. She was fired for refusing to comply with safety regulations. He's the person responsible for hiring and firing.

Unfortunately, we had to fire three employees as they were involved in circulating unacceptable emails.

*To let someone go

To officially tell someone that they can no longer work at a job.

At the end of her temporary contract the company let Fionnula go, which let her down as she really liked the job.

*To make someone redundant

Is when you dismiss an employee because you no longer need anyone to do their job. This might be because your business is changing what it does, doing things in a different way, changing location or closing down.

The deployment team will be made redundant in March as The IT team is going to take over deployments from then on.

*To lay someone off/ lay off someone

To stop employing a worker, especially for reasons that have nothing to do with the worker’s performance, maybe because of cutbacks or an economic crisis.

All of a sudden, the company had to lay off 20 people in order to cut back on expenses and since there was a bankruptcy threat.

*To hand in your notice

To tell your employer that you are leaving your job, normally in a letter.

Happily enough, Maeve handed in her notice after working in a company for 5 years which she couldn’t bear anymore.

*To resign

To give up a job or position by telling your employer that you are leaving.

The right-wing politician resigned when the news leaked about his corruption during the Pandemic.

Let’s put this into action and test yourself: (don’t peep at the answers)

1.Owing to massive cutbacks in the construction sector, many builders were ………………..

2.If I were him, I’d …………………… especially if he isn’t happy with how the company is managed and if the company’s values don’t align with his values.

3.She suggests ……………………… in person as it’s more personal and polite.

4.You risk ……………………. By not complying with the company policy.

5.According to the HR announcement 20 staff will be ……………. next January.

6.At the end of her disciplinary period unfortunately she was ………….

Answer key

1.Laid off


3.Handing in your notice

4.Getting fired.

5.Made redundant.

6.Let go

Now that you’ve learned different ways of saying to change your job, the only thing left is to incorporate it into your daily business English use today.

Tell me some stories of when you changed your job in the notes below, using the above examples, to help you start off your practice, I'll check them after.

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