Call them “Farewell Fridays." It’s one of our core assumptions about work: if you’re going to give bad news (or call it quits), you might as well do it at end of the week. But in reality, does it actually pan out that way? Scouring Namely’s database of over 1,000 companies and 175,000 employees, we looked for trends in voluntary and involuntary terminations.
While we love debunking HR myths, it turns out that Friday really is the most common day to part ways. In our database, nearly 40 percent of all voluntary and involuntary terminations happened on Fridays. Outside of the weekend, Monday was the least common day for employers and employees to end their working relationship.
So why Friday? For bearers of bad news, it might seem like an easier way to avoid conflict and soften the blow. In cases where employees leave on their own accord, leaving at the end of the week might provide more time to transition responsibilities—or serve as better timing for that big going away party.
While the data clearly shows that Friday terminations are the most common, parting ways midweek does have its merits. In cases where you’re asking an employee to leave, a midweek approach may be the more courteous one. Doing so gives individuals time to immediately apply for unemployment benefits, connect with their professional network, or reach out to their HR team with business days to spare.
In addition to looking at specific days, our team also considered whether there were seasonal trends. We found that nearly a third of employee departures happened in winter, with December alone accounting for 12 percent of the annual total.
One might chalk up these “winters of discontent” to seasonal or temporary roles wrapping up at the end of the year. In certain industries like retail and hospitality, it’s not unusual for headcount to balloon (and dive) 50 percent within a single season. For full-time employees leaving voluntarily, leaving in December also provides an opportunity to spend the holidays with family before starting the new year—and new job hunt—fresh.
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