How to write a severance letter

Whatever your reason may be for terminating an employee or terminating your own employment, you should always write a letter of termination to document the reason. Many businesses require a termination letter for legal purposes in order to provide an accurate acknowledgment by the employer or employee.

A termination letter can be a difficult letter to write from either party, but to be professional it should be done. Format the letter to your employee professionally. Follow the standard business letter format.

How do I Write a Severance Letter?

Begin the letter with the date at the top of the page, followed by your title, the business title and contact information, such as an address and phone number. Open the body of the letter by thanking the employee for their service to the company.

You may like to include positive accomplishments or specific events that acknowledge how the employee benefited the company. It is always a nice gesture to acknowledge any good deeds and hard work by inserting it into your letter. Explain the specific reason or reasons why you are terminating the employee from the company. In order to avoid confusion, you need to be specific. End the letter on a positive note.

If you are including a severance package, be sure to include any information you may have about the package they will receive. Also include if you have any information on another opportunity for the employee or if you are willing to send letters of recommendation. Sign your letter and send a copy to the employee as well as any supervisors or necessary personnel that should be informed. If you would like to be sure that all of the appropriate areas are covered, send a copy to the your company's Human Resources department before sending the letter to the employee.

Then choose the appropriate greeting, making sure to address the letter to the correct person in the company. Open the body of the letter by thanking your employer for the opportunity to work for their company. You may like to include positive benefits and knowledge you have acquired while working for the company. It is always a nice gesture to acknowledge the benefits and education the company has provided for you.

Explain the specific reason or reasons why you are leaving the company. Choose your words wisely as this letter may remain on your record. Include well wishes for your fellow employees, bosses and anyone else that may see your letter.

Sign your letter and send a copy to the employer, as well as any supervisors or other necessary personnel that should be informed. Based in Columbus, Ga. Typing hands image by huaxiadragon from Fotolia. Share It. Paralegals and Food Preparation About the Author.

Photo Credits. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd.Writing a termination letter can be a daunting task, knowing that much can rise or fall on what the letter says.

A few straightforward strategies can help you prepare a termination letter that manages the risks that accompany all termination decisions. What to leave in, what to leave out Obviously, a termination letter is a critical document. That said, employers should view a termination letter as an opportunity to boldly communicate why discharge is the right decision under the circumstances. With a few guidelines, you can write termination letters that communicate strength and confidence.

Confirming the at-will-employment relationship In states that have at-will employment laws, one of the most common explanations employers give for not communicating reasons at the time of discharge is they fear that doing so might compromise the at-will relationship.

That concern is legally incorrect, but we do recommend that a termination letter remind employees of their at-will status, even as you communicate your reasons for discharge. For example, a brief introductory paragraph can reinforce that status and set the stage for the rest of the letter:. The purpose of this letter is to notify you of our decision to terminate your employment, effective immediately.

Like all employees at our company, you are employed on an at-will basis. While we are not required to give you a reason for our decision, we think it is important for you to understand why we reached this conclusion. When appropriate, the letter should refer to the specific company policy that the employee violated.

If previous disciplinary action or performance management efforts support the decision, the letter should review those steps as well.

how to write a severance letter

When the decision is based on misconduct, the letter should contain a summary of the findings from your investigation :. In particular, the display of sexually suggestive photographs in your cubicle and the explicit language you used in describing those images to others were direct violations of company policy.

Also, in Octoberyou received a written warning addressing, and additional training on, your obligations to avoid such conduct. Some investigations of misconduct require you to decide who is telling the truth. We understand that you deny posting the offensive photographs, but other witnesses contradict your denial and told us during the investigation that you told them about printing the photographs and were thinking about putting them on the wall of your cubicle.

Also, employees reported seeing the images in your cubicle over the course of several hours, including while you were present. We have concluded that your performance does not meet the requirements of the technician position. In your performance appraisalyour supervisor noted that you needed to improve your technical skills and attention to detail.

The company provided you with two additional weeks of task-specific training with a coach during the first quarter of However, the performance problems continued throughout that year.

Your supervisor gave you three written reminders of the need to improve your performance in and again noted the need for improvement in your performance appraisal. Since that appraisal, it has become apparent that your job performance simply is not consistent with the requirements of your position. Identify the policy the employee violated or the performance expectation he failed to meet and how his conduct fell short. Leave out the adverbs and adjectives.The layoff process is challenging for even the most seasoned HR leaders.

However, you can make it a whole lot easier by having a layoff form on file that's ready for whenever you need it. In short, a layoff form - often called a layoff letter, or a layoff memo - is a notification letter that is sent out to members of the organization who are impacted by the event. A simple, easy-to-customize layoff form can be kept on file and updated when an event occurs, saving you time and frustration while also letting you focus on the bigger picture of the event, such as reviewing the event with you legal team or properly selecting the right candidates to meet your business goals.

The key to writing a layoff form is to remember to keep it simple. Remember that this letter is formatted exactly like a correspondence to a worker, despite the stressful subject matter involved.

Next, you need to jump straight into the core message: that a layoff is happening that the person receiving the letter is impacted by the event. For the last several months, [Organization Name] has experienced financial difficulties due to economic changes within our industry. Unfortunately, this action has not resulted in increased profitability. Due to this climate, we have come to the decision to eliminate positions within the organization.

It is with deepest regret that I must notify you of your position being eliminated from the organization. As you can see, there is no flowery language here.

There's no small talk. It's straight to the point. Nothing that you can say here will make the news that they have just received any easier to take. Your employee will have questions and emotions running through their heads, but there is a time and place for those questions and concerns afterward in the layoff meeting. Note: if you are wondering how to hold a layoff meeting, we have a full script that you can use at your organization to keep you on track.

You read more about layoff scripts here or download ours now here:. The middle of the layoff form is all about benefits and how the person can find out more details about the event. Again, just simply move from the first part to the second part. Don't add in any personalization because that can make things worse or, at the very least, a bit more confusing for the person reading it. The HR representative will discuss with you your separation benefits.

These benefits include the use of an outplacement service for assistance in finding a new position through resume writing and career counseling services. Please feel free to ask this HR representative any questions in relation to the position elimination.

How to Write a Termination Letter (with Sample)

You can also add in how severance workstoo, if you have a policy on paper. For example, if severance pay is based on how long the employee was with the company, you can reiterate that policy in this letter. A layoff form doesn't have to be a longwinded document that goes over every single corporate policy you have.There are numerous reasons for an employee to get demoted.

Whether it's because of poor performance, a restructuring at the company, or even if the person requests to take on less responsibility, you will always have to conduct the move in the same way, starting with a demotion letter.

Using a demotion letter, even if the move is mutually agreed upon, keeps everything running smoothly, and allows you to ensure that demotions are handled properly - with the right communication - across the board.

This guide will teach you what you need to include in your own demotion letter by using a sample, which you can download and customize for when you need it. A demotion letter is an email, memo, or other document that alerts a staff member that they are being demoted to a lower title or role.

How to Write a Termination Letter

There are lots of things to consider when demoting an individual, such as how much they will now be paid, what their actual job responsibilities are, how they will react to the move, and things of that nature. You need to make sure you work with your internal teams to understand all of the repercussions that can come with a move like this before you implement it. That being said, a demotion letter is rather straight forward and is probably the easiest part of the overall process.

Like any announcement letter, you really just need to give high-level details, explain what is happening in clear, concise language, and then offer a way for the employee to reach out for more information.

Demotion letters, like layoff lettersshould get right to the point without all sorts of flowery writing. You aren't trying to make small talk in these correspondences or beat around the bush. Just jump right in. Most likely, your demotion letter will take the form of a memo, following the standard practices that come with a document of that nature.

So, to start off, put contact information at the top, such as your company name, the date, time if neededand a subject line. Then, jump into a typical letter format that starts by addressing the employee you are talking to. Pretty straight forward, right? All correspondence at your organization probably takes on this look at least when it is official and has impact. Before we show what this section can look like. We need to note that this is where a demotion letter and other letters - like a layoff letter, salary reduction letteretc - differ.

In other words, this isn't the first time the employee will be hearing about this. You need to work with the employee before you send an official letter so it doesn't catch them off guard. If you don't, you run the risk of your employee straight up leaving your organization, which you probably want to avoid. So, in the meeting, go over how the move will work and what is to be expected.

Then, follow up with a demotion letter that will serve as the official notice to the employee and will go on file. Okay, with that out of the way, the actual middle of the article - which contains the core messaging and details of the move - is, again, straightforward. Please note, the parts in brackets are there for you to fill in with your own information since every organization is different. When you use a sample demotion letter - or any sample letter - you need to always make it your own.

After this initial information, move into what will be new for the employee. How their role will change, what their title is, who their manager is, what their pay is, etc. Again, just stay on track and keep it very simple and clean.Although they are not usually required by law in the United States, severance packages can ease job-loss transition for employees and provide protection from litigation for employers. A severance package letter can be the severance contract itself or a summary of the contents of the package.

Even though there is no standard format for severance packages, certain features are usually included. When the severance letter is the agreement, the details surrounding the end of employment are explicitly stated in detail. A summary letter avoids the legal terminology that can depersonalize the job termination. Reviewing points such as the date and time of termination, paperwork to be processed and company items to return by way of a plain-language summary reinforces the important details while respecting the terminated employee's dignity through a difficult time.

A severance agreement is a contract between employer and worker through which the employer obtains a waiver of future legal action from the employee. While there is no requirement for an employer to give severance pay, a valid contract is supported by a consideration in return for the waiver, or it may not be legally enforceable.

That consideration is usually severance pay and -- sometimes -- continued access to other benefits. Payment provisions and continued benefits are typically the foremost concerns of the fired employee and are often included in a summary letter.

Termination of Employment

Some companies may be required by state and federal laws -- such as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act -- to maintain eligibility for health insurance coverage for a departing employee at the employee's expense, whether or not the employer offers to cover costs for a period of time.

Summarizing any health insurance provisions provides reassurance for the employee. Providing references or outplacement services for terminated employees may not be part of the legal severance agreement and can be included in a severance package summary letter. Not all severance package letters are from a company to an employee.

In some situations, you -- as a dismissed employee -- may not agree with the severance offer. You may be able to leverage a review of severance by reminding your employer of contractual expressions the company made to you or of any discrimination, retaliation and damage to your business reputation that occurred.

Although you are probably motivated out of your need, presenting need as a reason for a severance review will not likely influence your employer. A full-time content creation freelancer for over 12 years, Scott Shpak is a writer, photographer and musician, with a past career in business with Kodak.

Share It. About the Author. Photo Credits.Sample Letters. Writing an Unemployment Appeal Letter. Writing an Unemployment Appeal Letter with Sample Letters Use this sample unemployment appeal letter as a template for your formal appeal letter.

In fact, an employer has a right to dispute the claim or the agency an disallow it for one of many reasons. The real problem here is the vigorous rules and regulations. There may be a loophole and someone falls through the cracks.

If an individual has been denied unemployment compensation and they feel they deserve it, they need to file an appeal on their claim. Beginning The Appeals Process To start the process, an appeal letter should be written. It is often very favorable to win a case on an appeal, especially if new or overlooked information is brought into play. These letters are a formality that is highly beneficial.

how to write a severance letter

First, the letter should be addressed to the appropriate agency and department. There can be numerous divisions without the agency, making sure it goes to the right person is essential for quick service. Some agencies have an appeal form.

If this is the case, it should be added to the appeal letter as a packet. Paragraph One These letters are important and will be scrutinized by the officials. Make sure the letter is both professional and has good grammar ad spelling. The goal is to make sure that the communication is effective and gets the claim a second look.

how to write a severance letter

Start out by stating the case number and reason for decline. Start right into why this is not accurate or even unfair. The research and gathering information will come in handy at this stage It is important to have all the facts in order to get a fair second look at the claim. If a person was fired, state why this was unjust. If the employer is fighting but the individual has proof that their allegations are false, any documentation that can be added is helpful.

Any information that grants looking at the case again should be welcomed. Two paragraphs with a closing is fine, but it will all be dependent upon how much there is to say.

how to write a severance letter

The letter sent, dated December 30,stated that the employer was fighting me on grounds that I was not eligible for these funds. It stated that I quit my employment and that after a meeting, they had encouraged me to stay. The facts provided to you by the employer are false.

Moreover, they are a blatant attempt to avoid paying unemployment. I have detailed proof, which I have attached. I was written up and I disputed the write up due to the impossibility of the situation. I have attached the severance contract that shows they let me go and also paid me a severance package. The letter will clearly show that this was an attempt to settle without having a lawsuit and signed off on by the head of HR.

Based on the fact that I had raised the age discrimination case, had been given an unfair workload and had many other things, it was clear they were trying to push me out the door. The attached documentation will put everything into perspective. I filled out the application your organization requires, and would like this to be looked at as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at The letter, dated January 12,affirmed that the employer was disputing me on the grounds that I was not entitled to the funds.

It said that I quit my job and that after a brief meeting I was persuaded to stay on at my job. Those facts, as stated by the employer, are percent false. Furthermore, they are an obvious and unscrupulous attempt to get out of paying unemployment.Learn something new every day More Info Writing a good severance letter requires that you remember your obligations to yourself or your company, to your employee, and to labor laws.

Reviewing your company policy on non-compete agreements, non-disclosure, severance payand any union contracts that come in to play is an important step before sitting down to write a severance letter. Be sure to avoid any possibly discriminatory language referring to age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Your letter should include all specific data related to the separation, such as the effective date of termination, reasons for separation, and any details regarding insurance and severance pay.

Responsibilities to yourself and your company include protecting your business from legal action for wrongful termination and, at the same time, maintaining positive employee morale. Your soon-to-be ex-employee is likely to have friends among your remaining staff. Assuming the severance is benign — such as employee layoffs for economic reasons — making the effort to reassure the ex-employee and offer a positive letter of reference can defuse animosity that could reflect back on your staff morale.

Be as kind as you can while being very clear about details. For permanent employees, issues such as severance pay, vacation time, sick time, stock options, and insurance coverage need to be addressed. As a matter of sound business policy, you might want to seek legal advice before writing the severance letter.

In terms of severance pay, sick time, and vacation time, you can be specific without using actual dollar amounts. Two weeks' vacation pay, nine days' sick time, or six months' severance pay are sufficiently detailed indications of compensation for your severance letter. Reference to action on stock options and retirement plans should be guided by your accountant and legal counsel. You might consider the letter a severance agreement. You are making an offer of terms of separation and, by signing the severance agreement, the employee about to leave employment agrees with your terms.

In the event that the employee is a union member, the general union contract should include guidelines that must be followed in the event of a layoff or termination. Do not include any language in your severance letter that references gender, age, race, sexual orientation, or any other issue that could be considered discriminatory.

Do not be shy about seeking legal counsel. Be clear, concise, detailed and as kind as circumstances warrant, and your letter should accomplish your goal of a harmonious separation. One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted.

Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK! View slideshow of images above.

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