Pink slip (employment)

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Pink slip refers to the American practice, by a personnel department, of including a discharge notice in an employee's pay envelope to notify the worker of his or her termination of employment or layoff.[1] The "pink slip" has become a metonym for the termination of employment in general. According to an article in The New York Times, the editors of the Random House Dictionary have dated the term to at least as early as 1910.

The origin of the phrase is unknown. There is no evidence that termination notices are, or ever were, conventionally printed on pink paper.[2] However, many applications (including termination papers) are done in triplicate form, with each copy on a different color of paper, one of which is typically pink.

In the UK and Ireland the equivalent of a pink slip is a P45; in Belgium the equivalent is known as a C4.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prial, Frank J. "Among Those Let Go, the Pink Slip Itself". The New York Times. June 18, 1991. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  2. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara. "Pink Slipped". Snopes. July 7, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2009.