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Employee Termination Letter Template & How To Write

  • By basitahmaddar
  • April 30, 2024
  • 5 mins read
employee termination letter template
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    No one enjoys having to let an employee go, but when it’s unavoidable, it’s crucial to handle it professionally. A big part of that process is the termination letter, which formally communicates the decision. Whether it’s due to poor performance or company changes, having an employee termination letter template for this letter can simplify things. In this article, we’ll explain what a termination letter is, guide you through the steps to write one, and offer you a template to use.

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    What Is An Employee Termination Letter? 

    An employee termination letter is a formal communication from an employer to an employee, indicating the end of their employment. It explains the reasons for termination, which could range from poor performance to organizational changes and may also include details about benefits or severance pay. Additionally, the letter outlines practical information like the date of the final paycheck and any necessary steps for returning company property. By providing clarity and documentation, it ensures both parties understand the terms and conditions of the termination, serving as a formal record of the decision to end the employment relationship.

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    How To Write An Employee Termination Letter? 

    Before jumping to the employee termination letter template, here are the essential steps for effectively writing a termination letter:

    Collect Relevant Information and Documentation

    Before drafting the termination letter, it’s essential to gather all relevant documentation and information. This includes reviewing the employee’s employment contract, company policies, performance appraisals, any records of previous warnings or disciplinary actions, performance improvement plans, non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, details of any severance packages, and health insurance details. Collecting these documents ensures that the termination letter is accurate and comprehensive. Additionally, consult with legal and HR departments to ensure compliance with state and local regulations.

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    Start with the basics

    Begin the termination letter by including essential details such as the date of the letter, the employee’s name, their position within the company, and the name of the manager overseeing the termination. Providing this basic information sets a professional and clear tone for the letter. It’s important to maintain a factual and straightforward approach, avoiding emotional language or unnecessary details.

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    Specify the Termination Date

    In the letter, clearly state the specific date of termination. This date should align with any contractual obligations or notice periods outlined in the employee’s contract or company policy. Providing a precise termination date helps prevent confusion and ensures that both parties understand the timeline for the termination process.

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    State the reasons for the termination

    Detail the reasons for the termination in a clear and concise manner. If the termination is for cause, provide specific examples or incidents that led to the decision. It’s crucial to document the reasons for termination to mitigate legal risks and provide transparency to the employee. Even in cases of downsizing or restructuring, where the termination may not be related to the employee’s performance, it’s essential to communicate the decision respectfully and empathetically.

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    Outline Next Steps for the Employee

    In the termination letter, outline any additional steps or responsibilities the employee needs to fulfill before leaving the company. This may include returning company property such as a cell phone, laptop, keys, or access badges. Provide instructions for the return of company assets and any necessary paperwork. Additionally, clarify details regarding the final paycheck, including information on accrued vacation pay, severance packages, and benefits continuation. Clearly communicating these logistical details helps facilitate a smooth transition for both the employee and the company.

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    Employee Termination Letter Template 

    Apart from understanding the procedure outlined above, you can refer to this employee termination letter template

    Dear [employee_name],

    I regret to inform you that as of [termination_date], your employment with [company_name] will be terminated. This decision has been made due to [insert reason for termination]. Whether it follows the final step in our disciplinary process or the conclusion of your Performance Improvement Plan initiated on [date], please know that this decision was carefully considered.

    Effective [termination_date], you will no longer be eligible for compensation or benefits associated with your position. Kindly ensure that all [company property that must be returned] is returned to the Human Resources office by [date].

    You will receive your salary up until [termination_date], including compensation for any accrued vacation days. Additionally, you will be entitled to severance pay totaling [amount]. Further details regarding compensation or related information will be provided in a separate letter.

    Please be reminded of the non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreement you have signed. Any information pertaining to our customers, employees, or stakeholders, whether in physical or digital form, must be promptly deleted from your personal devices.

    Should you have any questions or require clarification, I am available for discussion for up to [five] working days following your last day of employment.

    We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


    [Your name]

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    To sum up, navigating the process of drafting an employee termination letter requires tact, clarity, and adherence to established procedures. Whether it’s due to performance issues, restructuring, or other factors, communicating the decision effectively is essential. Utilizing a structured approach and leveraging a well-crafted template can streamline the process and ensure that the termination is handled with professionalism and respect.

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    Is Providing an Employee a Termination Letter Mandatory?

    No, it is not legally required to give an employee a termination letter. However, it is considered a best practice for documentation purposes. Holding a termination meeting alongside the letter allows for discussing returning company property and explaining any entitled benefits or severance packages.

    Is Employee Signature Necessary on a Termination Letter?

    No, there is no legal requirement for an employee to sign a termination letter. However, obtaining the employee’s signature can serve as acknowledgment of receipt. Regardless of whether the employee signs, the termination letter still serves as an official record of the termination conversation and the terms of termination.

    What Notice Period is Required for Termination of Employment?

    In at-will employment agreements, employers typically do not require notice from employees, as most work under this arrangement. However, there are exceptions for certain situations, such as mass layoffs or plant closures, where federal or state laws may mandate a notice period. It’s essential to consult local labor laws or seek legal advice to understand any specific notice requirements that may apply.

    Are “Discharged” and “Terminated” Synonymous?

    In the context of employment, employers and employees use “discharged” and “terminated” interchangeably to refer to the end of the employment relationship.

    When is it Appropriate to Use a Termination Letter?

    It is appropriate to use a termination letter in every instance of employee termination, whether conducted in person or not. The termination letter serves as formal documentation of the termination conversation, outlining the reasons for termination, the effective date of termination, any entitlements or benefits, and any further instructions or obligations for the departing employee. This helps ensure clarity and transparency in the termination process and mitigates potential disputes or misunderstandings.

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