For help writing a notice of termination, download our free employer notice of termination letter template.
The termination of employment is never an easy option for either the employer or the employee. However, on some occasions, there may be no other alternative.
Depending on the circumstances of the employee’s termination, an employer may need to write a notice of termination letter.
If the contract is not terminated mutually between the parties, the risk of unfair dismissal claims arise. It’s vital that fair procedures precede any dismissal related to competence, conduct, and redundancy issues for instance.
Whatever reason calls for an employee’s termination, it's important to follow fair procedures with tact and care. If you don’t use fair procedures before dismissing an employee, a disgruntled employee may bring their grievances to an employment tribunal.
What to include for employer and employee
Notice letters should refer to the reason for the employee’s termination and demonstrate that an employer addressed the termination fairly.
A termination letter can reduce certain risks, such as claims in the Workplace Relations Commission for unfair dismissal.
Factors to remember when considering a notice of termination letter includes:
- Ensure the termination is legal: it’s wise to consult a lawyer. Make sure the termination is fully legal and that you understand how to make it so. For example, providing ample notice or severance pay.
- Note all policies in effect: a notice of termination should refer to any and all policies affecting it. This clarifies the reasoning to the employee and can help avoid an employment tribunal.
- The reasons for termination: if the reason was conduct or capability-related, confirm what they were and the steps the employer took to address them before confirming termination.
- Last day of employment: an employee’s line manager or their head of department should be clear on what their last day of employment is. This may help avoid employment tribunal claims as there are strict time limits within which employees must lodge their Workplace Relations Commission claims.
Sample letter of termination of employment contract by an employer
For a termination notice, you should include:
- The date of the letter
- The notice period for termination of employment
- The date termination takes effect
- The factual reasons for termination
- What the employee will receive (including their benefits)
- What the employee must return (for example, company property)
Terminating an employee’s employment
When considering termination of an employee’s employment, employers need to tread very carefully to avoid unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.
- A full investigation and disciplinary or grievance process should precede any decision to terminate a contract of employment.
- Offer the employee the opportunity to have a representative present with them during the disciplinary process. This may be either a work colleague or Trade Union Representative.
- Clearly identify the issues to the employee and allow them to see all evidence that you may have in relation to the matter.
- Provide the employee with the opportunity to respond and justify any reason as to why they should retain their employment.
- Document everything during the process. If the employee in question submits an Unfair Dismissal claim, the employer will need written evidence to defend their position.
Examples of when fair procedures must precede termination of an employment contract include;
If the employee is leaving voluntarily, you must provide them with the statutory minimum notice of termination of employment. Employers should include a clause in their contracts specifying the amount of notice that employees should give before resigning. It can be a longer notice period than the notice periods set down in the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act but must not be shorter.
In cases of dismissal, setting out in writing the reasons that termination has been deemed necessary is important. The employee should fully understand the reasoning behind why they are being dismissed. Provided you have handled the dismissal process correctly, this will reduce the risk of the employee asserting their rights on termination of employment.
If the employee and employer agree to it, it’s possible to waive the notice period. In this case, the employer would typically pay the employee in lieu of working their notice.
The amount the employer must pay should amount to the same wages the employee would earn during their notice period.
Employee rights on termination also include being granted any pay that is legally owed to them. This includes being paid for any work the employee has completed. Employees have a legal entitlement to be paid for this work, including owed wages. The employer must provide any remaining pay before the employee’s dismissal date.
Employers must also provide the minimum period of notice for terminating employment.
The period of notice an employee should receive depends on their length of service with the employer. The statutory minimum notice periods are set out below:
- 13 weeks to 2 years: 1 week
- 2 – 5 years: 2 weeks
- 5 – 10 years: 4 weeks
- 10 – 15 years: 6 weeks
- 15 or more years: 8 weeks
Failure to handle termination properly can result in employment tribunals.
Some may question if an employer has to give written notice of termination. This will depend on the circumstances of the dismissal. However, broadly speaking, it is professional to provide written notice after confirming a dismissal with an employee.
In the event of termination of employment due to serious misconduct, no notice needs to be given. However, the employee may contest this type of termination of employment.
Get in touch if you have any queries about the termination of employment in Ireland. Or, if you require assistance creating a fair termination of employment letter. You can contact our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0818 923 923.