What is a RIF letter?
A reduction in force letter is used to notify an employee they have lost their job due to major company changes such as budget cuts, acquisitions, and restructuring. The letter generally covers the following:
- Reasons for the RIF.
- The date of the employee's last day of employment.
- Information about what is to become of the employee's benefits.
- Information about outplacement support.
- The employee's rights and possible steps of action.
There is much that a reduction in force letter has to accomplish. It has to notify an employee that they've lost their job out of no fault of their own. And it has to give the employee all the information they require to make the transition out of the company as smooth and painless as possible.
In a clear and professional tone, that is both sensitive to the situation as well as firm, the letter needs to cover the following:
- Reasons for the RIF.
- What company support is available.
- Compensation, benefits, and reimbursements.
- The employee's rights.
- Acknowledgment and gratitude.
To get you started, we've put a sample of our reduction in force template below for you to copy and paste into a document.
Reduction in Force Letter Sample:
Dear [Name of Employee],
Due to [reasons], the company has decided to eliminate certain [positions or departments]. We have done all we can for the past [time period] to try and address the [main causes] but to no avail. We regret to inform you that your role in the company is one of those to be reduced. Your last day of employment with us is on [precise date].
Your last paycheck will be paid on [date]. Your remaining paid-leave will be paid out to you then as well. Medical benefits will be paid through [date]. For reimbursements for approved expenses, please submit a request as soon as possible.
A meeting has been set up between yourself and a Human Resources representative. During that meeting, you will learn what the company can do for you to support you at this time. There is, for example, career counseling available [or whatever service is available].
You have the right to appeal this decision through the proper channels within [time period]. You are also encouraged to seek legal counsel to review the reduction in force and to offer potential courses of action.
Please accept our deep regrets. We greatly appreciated your contribution.
[Relevant Person's Name.]
Reduction in Force Letter:
The first paragraph should start with why the company has to eliminate certain positions or departments. Be sure to mention what actions were taken to avoid this situation. And then, inform the employee that it is their position that has been affected. Give them the date of their last day of employment.
Tell the employee everything they need to know about their salary, benefits, and reimbursements. When will they receive their final paycheck? What is to happen with the paid-leave they have accrued? Until when will the company be paying for health insurance?
Let the employee know what support the company will be offering them during this time of transition. Will they have access to resources? Does the company have career counselors? And explain the outplacement process.
Inform the employee of their right to appeal if one exists and the time frame in which to do so. Inform them of their right to seek legal counsel. Do not be dismissive of these rights. Encourage the employee to exercise them.
The last paragraph should be used to express the company's regrets at having to reduce the workforce and acknowledge the employee's positive contribution to the company during their employment.