Infosys Ltd on Friday slammed a newspaper report that said it was planning to lay off 5,000 poor- performing employees to cut costs, Reuters reported.

According to an Economic Times (ET) report on Friday, the software services exporter was executing a zero tolerance policy towards incompetent staff, which makes up 3-4 percent of its 1.5 lakh global workforce. 

Infosys said that its "chronic under-performers" are encouraged to leave, but the number of those who could potentially leave is far lower than that quoted in the report.

The Bangalore-based company had previously sacked 2,100 during the global economic crisis in 2009 citing poor employee performance. Its usual practise of dealing with worst performing employees was to place them in a retraining programme for up to six months.

The report said that the company's decision to trim down its workforce was part of its strategy to boost sales growth, which was lagging behind other IT rivals in the past one year. The company had halved its revenue forecast to 5 percent for the financial year ending March after US clients cut back on spending and signing new deals. Ahead of its December quarter performance results coming out on Jan 11, analysts have pegged its growth in the last three months to 2-3 percent.

Despite the negative outlook, Infosys executive co-chairman S Gopalakrishnan expressed optimism for the company and the IT sector as a whole citing improvement in global economies.

"2013 will be better than 2012. The global economy, I think, has improved specially in the US... China is growing faster. India has also started improving. So except for, may be Europe, rest of the world is trying to improve and it is good for the global economy, he told PTI on Wednesday.

Though Infosys decried the report of the workforce cutdown, the company, once hailed as the top employers of the country, was seen to have held back on hiring. Earlier in November, the company deferred the joining date of 17000 new employyes by three months in a bid to cut costs. This delay could be extended to the first half FY14, noted Dalal Street.

The company in September had announced an aggressive recruitment campaign overseas to meet 50 per cent of its staffing requirements.

"We want to make sure that we are able to leverage best talents from different geographies. We have a goal - at least 50 per cent of our employee requirements outside India must be met by recruiting locally," S Gopalakrishnan had told Business Standard.